The maximum penalty for a serious violation, one capable
of causing death or serious physical harm will increase
from $7,000 to $12,000 and the maximum penalty for a
"willful violation” will increase from $70,000 to $250,000.

WASHINGTON – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is increasing civil penalty amounts under its new Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), announced on April 22.

"For many employers, investing in job safety happens only when they have adequate incentives to comply with OSHA's requirements," said Assistant Secretary of Labor for OSHA Dr. David Dr. Michaels. "Higher penalties and more aggressive, targeted enforcement will provide a greater deterrent and further encourage these employers to furnish safe and healthy workplaces for their employees."

OSHA said the new SVEP is intended to focus OSHA enforcement resources on recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law. This supplemental enforcement tool includes increased OSHA inspections in these worksites, including mandatory OSHA follow-up inspections, and inspections of other worksites of the same employer where similar hazards and deficiencies may be present.

Among the “high-emphasis hazards” covered by the SVEP are falls, amputations, combustible dust, lead, and excavation and trenching. SVEP will become effective within the next 45 days.

"SVEP will help OSHA concentrate its efforts on those repeatedly recalcitrant employers who fail to meet their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It will include a more intense examination of an employer's practices for systemic problems that would trigger additional mandatory inspections," Michaels said.

Monetary penalties for violations of the OSH Act have been increased only once in 40 years despite inflation. The Protecting America's Workers Act would raise these penalties, for the first time since 1990. The maximum penalty for a serious violation, one capable of causing death or serious physical harm will increase from $7,000 to $12,000 and the maximum penalty for a “willful violation” will increase from $70,000 to $250,000.

OSHA said the average penalty for a serious violation will increase from about $1,000 to an average $3,000 to $4,000. Future penalty increases would also be tied to inflation. (For more information on the penalty policy, click here

Click here, for more information on the SVEP.

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