Companies Endangering Workers to Pay Steeper OSHA Fines
Starting this month, companies that are cited by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for endangering workers will pay steeper fines for safety violations.
The change comes in the wake of legislation that requires all federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to keep up with the rate of inflation. That means that OSHA's maximum penalties will increase by a whopping 78 percent.
The new penalties went into effect Aug. 1, 2016. There are increased penalties related to:
- Posting Requirements: The old penalty was $7,000 for every time an employer did not post a log of workplace injuries and illness, or other mandated safety information. The new penalty is $12,471 per violation.
- Failure to Abate: The old fine was $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date, which is the time by which safety improvements are required to be made. The new penalty is $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date.
- Willful or Repeated Violations: The old penalty was $70,000 per violation. The new penalty is $124,709 per violation.
These fines aren't necessarily written in stone, though. To address how the fee increases will impact smaller businesses, OSHA reserves the right to reduce penalties based on the size of the company.
While the fines were adjusted to keep pace with the inflation rate (they were last adjusted in 1990), the workers' compensation attorneys at Edgar Snyder & Associates hope the result is increased worker safety.
It would be great if the sizeable increases will motivate companies to take their workers' safety even more seriously or take a sizeable hit to the wallet. The bottom line? Serious safety infractions should call for serious financial penalties.
Our legal team has fought for the rights of injured workers for more than 30 years. We know all too well how long, painful and expensive the recovery process can be for accident victims, as well as their families.
We wanted to take this opportunity to remind all Pennsylvania workers that they have rights! It’s important to remember that you have the right to:
- Safe working conditions
- Recieve information and training about workplace hazards, as well as ways to prevent them
- Review records of workplace injuries and illnesses
- File a complaint with OSHA and request a workplace inspection
- Apply for workers' compensation following a workplace injury or illness without fear of retaliation
At Edgar Snyder & Associates, we hope you never have to fight for any of these rights. But if you do, let our workers' compensation attorneys help. The cards are often stacked against injured workers. If your employer is pressuring you to return to work early or accept a light-duty job, don't wait—contact us today for a free consultation.