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As a result of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvement Act, passed by Congress in November, 2015, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is scheduled to increase its fines by August 1, 2016.  This would be the first increase in the civil penalty fines level since 1990.

The new law directed agencies to adjust their penalties for inflation each year using a straightforward method and to publish “catch up” rules this summer to make up for lost time since the last adjustment.  The interim final rules were due by July 1, 2016 with the Department of Labor (DOL) accepting comments for 45 days before the final rules are published.

Recently, the DOL announced interim final rules to adjust its penalties for inflation, based on the last time each penalty was increased.  OSHA fine levels were last adjusted in 1990.  Per this interim rule, OSHA’s maximum penalties will increase 78 percent:  the top penalty for serious violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471; and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709.  The new civil penalty amounts are applicable only to penalties assessed after August 1, 2016 whose associated violations occurred after November 2, 2015.

Source:  US Department of Labor, July 14, 2016