This past November, legislation was passed that will adjust civil penalties for federal agencies. One of the agencies effected by these penalties is the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. OSHA will increase its penalties by 78.2% for standards violations which could effect many businesses in a big way. After 25 years of penalties remaining the same with no adjustments, the time has come for the maximum penalty amount to increase due to inflation. In addition to the recent adjustment future adjustments will be taking place periodically to account for inflation. Businesses should now expect to see Increases every year no later then January of each year.
In the past OSHA penalties were viewed by companies as just part of being in the business because the penalties were too low to cause any harm to businesses financially. But these new adjustments will change the way many businesses view OSHA penalties because they may now have a much greater impact on them financially. Since many businesses brushed these penalties off because they were insignificantly impacted by them they didn’t pay much attention to their safety programs even viewing them as unnecessary. Safety experts hope that the new adjustments will be a wake up call for construction companies and persuade them to focus more on their safety programs. On the other hand, others believe that the current penalties are already too expensive and that the new adjustments will do more harm then good.