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March 2019 – OSHA Increases Fines Again By: Gary W. Hanson
In 2016 OSHA started to index the fines they would issue as a result of a specific violation to the annual inflation index. Up to that time the fine for a serious violation was $7,000 maximum and for willful $120,000 maximum. These fines had stayed steady up to that time. OSHA felt that the existing fines did not take into consideration inflation.
Each year since 2016 OSHA has adjusted the rates upward according to the Consumer Price Index. As of January 24, 2019, the new penalty fines will be:
Serious $13,260 Maximum Willful or Repeat $132,598 Maximum Failure to Abate $13,260 for Each Day Beyond the Abatement Date Willful Violation Minimum Fine $9,239
The above fines can be adjusted downward by the OSHA area office. OSHA takes into consideration how serious the violation was, the size of the company, good faith and prior history. If a company has not had any previous citations during the past five years, this is taken into consideration.
In addition, OSHA has the capability of reducing proposed penalties at an Informal Conference for smaller companies that can be up to 50%, but for most companies the reduction is around 40%. However, this reduction only takes place if a company has corrected the noted violations to OSHA’s satisfaction and shows OSHA that they will be working to improve their overall safety effort.
Even with the possible reductions the new rates mean a significant increase in the actual fines a company will receive. Companies that do not take their safety program seriously will be facing much higher fines for any OSHA violations. These fines will continue to increase each year now that OSHA had indexed these to inflation.
I recommend that the client companies we work for do the following: Audit their written safety programs at least annually and update as necessary. Develop an annual employee safety training plan and ensure all employees receive training in the OSHA mandated standards. Address employee safety concerns. Conduct regular OSHA style safety inspections to identify any physical violations and correct these as soon as possible. Document everything so there is a record showing what has been done to comply with the appropriate OSHA standards. Stay up with the changes in the OSHA
OSHA is not going to go away, so do not be caught unaware. A good safety program will go a long way to reducing exposure to OSHA violations and penalties.
If you have any questions about OSHA or your safety program or have a need with your program, please give me a call at (330)495-3437 Cell or (330)854-4577 Office.
Heat Related Illness – http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/2011-174/default.html
Ohio Administrative Code OAC4123-17-68
Ohio Safety Congress
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Each year Ohio employers have the opportunity to participate in BWC’s Group-Experience-Rating Program or Group-Retrospective-Rating Program. While these programs are not required, they do provide you with an opportunity to significantly reduce your workers’ compensation premiums, while increasing your awareness of safety and risk-management strategies.
Workplace safety is an important component of these programs. To succeed in accident prevention, we encourage you to use the many resources available to you. We believe a group-rating program is a partnership that includes you and your employees, your sponsoring organization or third-party administrator (TPA) and BWC. Each has specific roles and responsibilities, all designed to assist in preventing workplace accidents. This information in this PDF Document outlines the safety services expectations you should have as an employer enrolled in a group-rating program.
10 Step Business Plan for Safety
With BWC’s 10-Step Business Plan for Safety employers can focus on implementing a more effective safety plan one step at a time as opposed to getting lost in the “where to start” phase of the big picture. While some of the BWC programs require employers to complete the 10-Step Business Plan for Safety, it can also be a good resource for companies looking to implement a new safety program or simply improve an old one.
|Step 1||Step 2||Step 3||Step 4||Step 5|
|Step 6||Step 7||Step 8||Step 9||Step 10|
Safety Talk Employee Orientation
No business organization can expect good safety performance unless its top management demonstrates that safety is a key organizational value. A leader must communicate the need for safety to all employees. Accountability is one of the key factors to commitment. Every level of your organization needs to be accountable for its safety responsibilities. Make safety orientations for new and transferred employees a part of your organization’s basic safety processes.(Read More)
Safety Council Rebate Program
Thousands of Ohio employers find value and workers’ compensation premium savings by actively participating in their local safety councils. And you can join them. The Huber Heights Chamber has a Risk Management series that meet quarterly. Watch the website for calendar announcements at www.huberheightschamber.com (Read More)
Making Safety Committees Work
One of the Nine Key Safety Program Parameters that has been issued by the Division of Safety & Hygiene, for Group Rated Companies, is employee involvement and recognition. It is believed that the more involved employees are in the Safety Program, the more willing they will be to participate in it and follow the guidelines established. I personally believe this. One of the ways to get employees involved is to set up an active Safety Committee.(Read More)
Calculating the OSHA Incident Rate
Each year the Bureau of Labor Statistics calculates the OSHA Incident Rate, the Lost Time Incident Rate and Cases with job transfer or restrictions, for each NAICS Code (North American Industrial Classification System).(Read More)