The Price of Safety Failure Just Went Up

Don’t look now, but OSHA fines just went up. Under a law change that went into effect in 2016, OSHA penalties now increase with inflation every year.  As a result, the fines for violating OSHA safety regulations are now 2% higher than in 2017.   The change looks like this:

  • Willful violation 

Old level  = $9,054 up to $126,749

New level = $9,239 up to $129,336

  • Repeat violation 

Old level = Up to $126,749

New level = Up to $129,336

  • Serious violation 

Old Level = Up to $12,675

New Level = Up to $12,934

  • Failure to correct a violation

Old level = Up to $12,675 for each day the condition continues

New Violation = Up to $12,934 for each day the condition continues

That change is probably not much of a deterrent.  No one is likely to say, “I’ll break the law if I only have to pay $12, 675, but not if it costs $259 more.”

However, lets put it into perspective.  Prior to 2016, the fines had not increased since 1990.  Congress ordered the agency to increase fines enough to catch up with inflation, so in 2017, the penalties jumped.  Between last years increase and this latest increase, OSHA fines have now gone up by nearly 85%.   That should get companies’ attention.



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