The two year Budget Agreement that president Obama signed in November 2 under closed doors, surprisingly included provisions that authorized Occupational Safety & Health Administration raised the penalties by as much as 50% to a new historic high level of 82%. This was the first time the penalty was being raised since Bush senior’s tenure in office, 15 years ago. In spite of the increase, Statistics indicate that OSHA fines are still relatively low compared to those charged by regulatory agencies like EPA. What many await to see is whether OSHA will move fully to increase the penalties to raise the “catch-up” fee to full extent as stipulated in the new regulations. The budget agreement …show more content…
The increase means organizations or individuals caught for Repeat and Willful violations will be fined a staggering sum of $125,438, up from $70,000.the current maximum fine $7,000 for serious violations will also increase to $12,744.
Recent sentiments coming from OSHA and the U.S. Department of Labor indicate that OSHA will most likely implement most of the recommendations, even as they come into terms with the impact the rule portends. For years, many organizations have sought to have the penalties increased but to no avail. What is even more surprising to many, is the fact these changes have been approved without public debate.
The silver lining
On the bright side, every executive desires to keep their workers safe and free from accidents, as such the punitive measure may act as a wake-up call to organizations to stay on top of safety issues. Because at the moment most business treat safety issues as a cost factor to be dealt by professionals and not part of a wider business plan to ensure company goals are met. The changes being advanced by OSHA will likely force executives to take a more hands on approach to make safety issues a pivotal issue in the way business is …show more content…
The disparity is even more glaring if you consider the fact that having few injuries at the workplace does not mean you are in compliance with OSHA guidelines. Secondly a hazardous work environment may also impact employees.
In a typical scenario, an employer can be cited for a number of violations such as blocked exits, and poorly positioned fire extinguishers among other factors that may put workers safety into questions. Research as shown that employers who may be impacted more negatively by the penalties are those who operate in varied locations, where safety is not a apriority. This workplaces typically have high turnovers and weak or inadequate supervision.
Word of caution
It is incumbent for employers to take seriously the safety guidelines because repeat violations mean more punitive penalties. The companies that must watch their back include manufacturing concerns and other industries that demand high levels of lock-out procedures, safety training and guarding. Because of the relatively short timeframes everybody should be on the