Based on cost-of-living adjustments, OSHA civil penalties increased again this year. The maximum penalties for other-than-serious, serious, and willful or repeated violations have gone up significantly from 2022. New penalties became effective on January 17, 2023.
Everything is more expensive. From gas and electricity to meat and eggs - the cost of living continues to rise. The 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act gave OSHA the ability to manage their effectiveness by increasing penalties by a rate consistent with the Consumer Price Index. They use the CPI as a cost-of-living multiplier to be applied across all maximum and minimum penalties for each type of violation. Increasing monetary penalties is designed to have a deterrent effect on employers while simultaneously encouraging them to put safety first. OSHA Civil Penalties - 2023
How much did the penalties go up?
In 2023, serious violations will incur a minimum penalty of $1,116 and a maximum penalty of $15,625 per violation. Willful or repeated violations will receive penalties between $11,162 and $156,259. Employers who fail to correct the violation(s) will incur charges of up to the maximum of $15,625 per day past the date of abatement. The 2023 penalties are over 7% higher than they were in 2022. OSHA Civil Penalties - 2022
What constitutes a serious violation?
According to OSHA, a citation is classified as serious if the inspector determined that the employer recognized the hazard, knew the hazard could cause serious injury, illness, or death and didn't do anything to mitigate the hazard. The safety standards that OSHA put in place are designed to protect the worker. As an employer, you must know and adhere to all safety standards. Learn about the top 3 most cited OSHA standards in dentistry.
What if there isn't a specific OSHA standard, can I still get cited?
It would be next to impossible to have a specific standard on the books for every hazard that might occur in the workplace. However, OSHA can use the General Duty Clause to cite employers for violations that don't have a specific standard. For instance, there isn't a specific OSHA standard in place for COVID-19, but it is a globally recognized illness that can lead to serious illness and death. It is critical for employers to stay abreast of local, state, and federal guidelines and put policies in place to reduce COVID-19 exposure. Get a written safety program.
What does this mean for you?
Every worker has the right to a safe workplace and it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the workplace is safe. It can get easy to cut corners, especially with skyrocketing prices. However, when it comes to safety - cutting corners can cost a life. The increase in penalties is one reason, but the health and safety of your employees is paramount. Establishing a culture where safety is the top priority protects your employees and your pocketbook.
Learn more about Dental OSHA Compliance.
We are here to help!
We understand that these are trying times, not just for managing the normal health and safety measures of your company, but also navigating the higher cost of living and remnants left behind by the pandemic. SafeLink’s goal is to help you stay up to date with any changes and give you the newest information available. If you have any questions about OSHA’s enforcement or if we can help you develop a health and safety program please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.
Learn more about what SafeLink Consulting can do to help your business with compliance services, including safety compliance, to meet OSHA training requirements and quality system consulting to meet FDA compliance. SafeLink Consulting assists businesses with workplace safety training, infection control training, HIPAA training online, quality systems, assessments, audits, due diligence, and more.
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