As if OSHA violations weren’t already a stress-inducing part of your business, you now face a proposed OSHA fines increase. Not your run-of-the-mill annual increase, an increase of 512%. That percentage sounds extreme, but it’s not an exaggeration.
If passed, the Build Back Better Bill will do the following:
- The minimum fine for willful or repeated violations increases from $9,753 to $50,000.
- The maximum fine for willful or repeated violations increases from $136,532 to $700,000.
- The minimum fine for serious and failure-to-abate violations increases to $70,000 per day beyond the abatement date.
- The maximum fine for serious and failure-to-abate violations increases from $13,653 to $700,000 (per day beyond the abatement date).
The Build Back Better bill also includes plans for $707 million of funding to support OSHA’s various operations. Additionally, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) would receive $133 million for their activities. However, the main issue that will impact businesses in a big way are the OSHA fines increase.
Proposed Increase has Business Owners Concerned
While some people believe that the OSHA fines increase was overdue, the majority of public opinion is that this is a massive increase that will only hurt small businesses. Business owners and politicians opposing the bill agree with Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) who stated in a press release, “To be clear, committee Republicans do not condone employers that violate important labor laws . . . But the Democrats’ proposals unnecessarily put a target on the backs of business owners . . .” There’s another portion of opposing views that believes there should be protections built in for small businesses, even shifting the punishment more to individual employees who cause the violation.
Regardless of your political beliefs or affiliation, now is the time to take action in your business. One commenter on the OSHA fines increase press release stated that most businesses would close their doors to avoid fines like these, but the alternative is just to level up your preventive measures and recordkeeping.
Actions to Take to Avoid OSHA Fines
Check for OSHA regulation updates and review your maintenance, health, and safety plans. Do you have a system in place to ensure that your business operates according to those plans? Do you have a streamlined way to keep safety and maintenance records in case of an OSHA inspection?
There is no guarantee that businesses of any size will be offered leniency or protection from these fines. Also, it is highly unlikely that individual employees will be punished by OSHA, even if they are part of the violation. As an employer, you have to provide as much training and support as you can to prevent the violation. So, the simpler the system, the better. Redlist offers that and so much more. Our clients are proof that applying this one shift to your organization can drastically reduce your workplace incidents and your OSHA or MSHA fines. One client reduced all incidents by 50% after Redlist implementation, and another saved $200,000 in annual MSHA fines.
The proposed OSHA fines increase has many business owners worried. If your maintenance, inspection, health, and safety isn’t operating as efficiently or effectively as it could be, take a look at your processes. Going digital and configuring a mobile app specific to your needs will create the visibility, accountability, and easy integration that helps businesses like yours avoid OSHA fines.