OSHA Increases Civil Penalty Amounts for 2019

OVERVIEW

On Jan. 23, 2019, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published a final rule that increases the maximum penalty amounts the agency may assess against employers that violate workplace health and safety requirements. For most violations, the new maximum penalty amount is $13,260. For willful or repeated violations, the new maximum penalty amount is $132,598.

Federal law requires OSHA to increase its penalty amounts by Jan. 15 every year. Because the federal government shutdown delayed the increases for 2019, however, OSHA announced the new amounts  in a “pre-publication” version of the final rule issued on Jan. 15, 2019. Now that the final rule has been officially published, the new amounts apply for any civil penalties assessed after Jan. 23, 2019.    

ACTION STEPS

Employers should become familiar with OSHA’s new penalty amounts and review their workplace policies and practices to ensure compliance with OSHA requirements.

Background

Federal law requires OSHA to adjust its civil monetary penalty levels for inflation no later than Jan. 15 of each year. Under the law, adjustments are made by issuing a final rule that becomes effective on the day it is officially published in the Federal Register. On Jan. 15, 2019, OSHA issued an unofficial final rule to increase the maximum penalty amounts for 2019. However, the federal government shutdown delayed the rule’s official publication. The final rule was officially published on Jan. 23, 2019.    

Penalty Changes for 2019

The table below compares current penalty limits to the increased amounts for 2019 outlined in OSHA’s final rule. The new amounts apply to any penalties OSHA assesses after Jan. 23, 2019.      

MAXIMUM PENALTIES

VIOLATION CURRENT EFFECTIVE JAN. 23, 2019

Other-than-serious violation $12,934 per violation $13,260 per violation

Serious violation $12,934 per violation $13,260 per violation

Failure to comply $12,934 per violation $13,260 per violation

with posting requirements

Failure to correct $12,934 per day $13,260 per day

a violation until corrected until corrected

Repeated violation $129,336 per violation $132,598 per violation

Willful violation   $129,336 per violation $132,598 per violation

More information

Please contact Insurance of the San Juans or visit OSHA’s website for more information about OSHA penalties.