For over 40 years, America's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has regulated health and safety standards in the workplace. OSHA educates and advocates for workplace safety, and as a regulating body it also hands out fines for safety standard violations. Intended as prohibitive measures, citation fines punish companies with unsafe work environments or that show a disregard of safety regulations. OSHA recently announced that the fine levels--which haven't been changed since 1990--are due for an update.
Until now, OSHA was exempt from a federal regulation that requires federal fines to keep pace with inflation. That exemption ended with the November 2015 Bipartisan Budget Bill. Now OSHA has to calculate fee increases according to the Consumer Price Index which, as you can imagine, has changed a bit in 25 years. The actual fine amounts won't be announced until July 1st, 2016 and won't take effect until August 1st, 2016, but some fines could go up by 80 percent. OSHA has the option to raise rates at a more modest pace, but early indicators make that seem unlikely.
That's your heads up. Time to break out your safety plan, audit your departments for OSHA compliance and get moving on any new safety initiatives you've been planning. What are your thoughts on the fine increase? Will it change the way you handle workplace safety?