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Friday, January 13, 2012

OSHA Violation Penalties on the Rise

According to statistics recently reported by OSHA, the number of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA in Fiscal Year 2011 fell to a total of 40,215, down 778 from 2010.  The agency attributes this slight decline in the number of inspections to the fact that many inspections, particularly those focused on health hazards and record keeping compliance, require more time per inspection.

Double the Penalties from OSHA Last Year

“Every day in America, 12 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, 3.3 million people suffer a workplace injury from which they may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable our workers, devastate our families, and damage our economy.”
– Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis
OSHAPenalties

According to statistics recently reported by OSHA, the number of workplace inspections conducted by federal OSHA in Fiscal Year 2011 fell to a total of 40,215, down 778 from 2010.  The agency attributes this slight decline in the number of inspections to the fact that many inspections, particularly those focused on health hazards and record keeping compliance, require more time per inspection.

OSHA Doubles Violation Penalties in 2011

Despite the fewer number of inspections, the size of enforcement actions (penalties) is increasing.  The average OSHA penalty per Serious violation in 2011 increased to $2,132, more than doubling from 2010’s average of $1,053.  In the last year of the Bush administration, 2008, that average was $998.
OSHAPenalties
OSHA’s increase in the size of penalties and the number of Significant Cases can be traced back to key changes that OSHA made to its Field Operations Manual in October 2010.  For instance, OSHA doubled the minimum penalty for Serious violations, limited the Area Offices’ freedom to reduce penalties during settlement conferences, and reduced allowable penalty reductions for clean OSHA history (and required more years without past violations to be eligible for a clean history penalty reduction).

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