OSHA to adopt higher fines and penalties for egregious violations

Under new rules coming into effect in March, repeat offenders will be subject to steadily increasing sanctions by federal safety watchdog.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it will begin levying increasing sanctions on firms that repeatedly disregard rules and regulations regarding employee safety.

In a pair of memos, OSHA announced its plans for heightened penalties in accordance with the new policy. In the first memo issued on January 26th, OSHA outlines new guidelines for when it may issue “instance-by-instance citations.” Next, the agency advises regional and area offices of the current policy, allowing them to issue citations for each separate violation of OSHA rules.

Starting in 1990, Instance by Instance Citations are meant to be applied to only the most egregious violations. These include:

  • An employer has received a willful, repeat, or failure-to-abate violation within the past five years “where that classification is current.”
  • The proposed citations are for a fatality/catastrophe.
  • The employer has failed to report a fatality, inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye.
  • The proposed recordkeeping citations are related to injury or illness(es) resulting from a severe hazard.

OSHA has clarified that Instance by Instance citations will continue only to be issued for the most severe violations.