New OSHA Fines Adjusted for Inflation?

OSHA Penalty Adjustments to Take Effect August 2016

In November 2015, Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation. The Department of Labor is adjusting penalties for its agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

OSHA’s maximum penalties, which were last adjusted in 1990, will increase by 78%. Going forward, the agency will continue to adjust its penalties for inflation each year based on the Consumer Price Index.

The new penalties will take effect after August 1, 2016.  Any citations issued by OSHA after that date will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Type of Violation  Current Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Posting Requirements
$7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation

Adjustments to Penalties

To provide guidance to field staff on the implementation of the new penalties, OSHA will issue revisions to its Field Operations Manual by August 1. To address the impact of these penalty increases on smaller businesses, OSHA will continue to provide penalty reductions based on the size of the employer and other factors.

State Plan States

States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as Federal OSHA’s.

The Need for Safety Professionals Will Grow

Due to the increase, the need for safety professionals will grow accordingly. The national Center for EHS Education and ENMUR offer some of the highest quality safety training available today. The entire degree can be obtained for less than one OSHA fine. Not only is the training affordable, the degree program is offered entirely online for individuals that can not make it to the Roswell NM campus. Right now there is a shortage of trained professionals even before the OSHA announcement. Most students entering the course are career change individuals with an average age of 38 being the norm. While we have had students from 19 to 60 years of age, there really is no “average” student.

To find out more about this exciting career and how easy it is to take classes, contact Michael O’Berry at 575-624-7381 for more information.


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