As of January 13, 2017, employers will be subject to higher fines for safety and health violations but not by much – 1.01636 percent to be precise. The increase matches the annual consumer price index by the federal government as of October 2016. The new maximum OSHA fines are:
- Repeat, willful: $126,749
- Serious, other-than-serious: $12,675
- Failure to abate: $12,675 (per day beyond the abatement date)
States that operate their own Occupational and Safety and Health Plans are also required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as OSHA’s.
OSHA generally considers the gravity of the violation, the size of the company, the good faith effort to comply and history of previous violations when determining fines with gravity serving as the primary factor.
Employers should always request an informal conference to discuss Citations including fines. Assessed penalties are almost always reduced through negotiation at an informal conference even if the underlying Citation is not contested. Other issues such as extension of abatement dates and methods of abatement can also be discussed at the informal conference. However, it is critical to remember that an informal conference will not extend the 15 day working days to contest Citations after receipt of them.