July 5, 2016 | By Kelly Mansfield |
Significant increases to OSHA fines will take effect on August 1, 2016 due to a new budget law signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015, which permits OSHA to increase citation fines up to 80%. Employers can prepare for the increases by ensuring that appropriate safety initiatives are in place to prevent injuries and OSHA violations.
Under the penalty increases proposed by OSHA, the following new penalty levels will apply to OSHA violations effective August 1, 2016:
Serious, Other than Serious, and Posting Violations-$12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate-$12,471 per day beyond the abatement day
Willful or Repeated Violations-$124,709 per violation
Employers can avoid the financial impact that the increased fines could have on their business by taking action now to ensure that controls and procedures are in place that are compliant with OSHA’s requirements. Here are 5 action steps that your business can take today to avoid future costly penalties:
1. Develop a written safety program with procedures that comply with OSHA regulations. OSHA offers several resources on their website (osha.gov) to ensure that safety programs comply with regulations.
2. Appoint a safety coordinator within your organization to oversee the safety program, engage with employees on safety topics and encourage safety suggestions and feedback from employees.
3. Educate employees by conducting OSHA compliance training. (http://osha.gov/Publications/osha2254.pdf) Check for understanding by requiring employees to demonstrate safety procedures. Additionally, document all training with employee sign-in sheets.
4. Inspect your business premises daily to identify hazards or potential OSHA violations. When hazards are identified, respond by taking appropriate action to ensure safety and OSHA compliance.
5. If your organization has had OSHA violations in the past, review the violations to be sure processes are in place to avoid future penalties.
While the increases to OSHA’s penalties are significant and could dramatically impact an organization’s bottom line, action steps can be taken now to prevent employee injuries and avoid OSHA penalties.
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