OSHA Increases Maximum Civil Money Penalties to Start the New Year

Pursuant to the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act, OSHA increases the maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations from $15,625 per violation to $16,131 per violation. In addition, the maximum penalty for willful or repeat violations increased from $156,259 per violation to $161,323 per violation. The increases became effective as of January 16, 2024.

These increases along with OSHA’s prior enforcement memos issued earlier last year regarding its application of instance-by-instance citations and discretion when grouping means employers will likely continue to see more aggressive enforcement and higher penalty assessments following inspections in 2024. The importance of reducing willful or repeat classifications during settlement negotiations also becomes increasingly important in light of OSHA’s broadening the scope of its Severe Violator Enforcement Program in September of 2022. Once in the Program, employers will be required to remain on the list for at least three years from the date the employer completes abatement and will be subject to, among other things, mandatory follow-up inspections within one year, regional or nationwide inspection of the employer’s related workplaces if OSHA has “reasonable grounds to believe” that single-site violations indicate a “broader pattern of non-compliance,” and the target of news releases.

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