OSHA Increases Workplace Safety Violation Penalties for 2022
Inflation is hitting just about every product and service purchased including Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties. In 2016, Congress gave the U.S. Department of Labor, which has authority over OSHA, the ability to increase its penalties on an annual basis based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).
OSHA’s New Penalties for 2022
The U.S. Department of Labor has just published its yearly increases to the maximum civil penalties that may be assessed via citations (OSHA) arising from a workplace safety and health inspection.
The new penalties were effective on January 15, 2022, and the minimum and maximum penalties for workplace safety violations issued by OSHA are as follows:
New Penalties and Existing Inspections
The new penalties will apply to all citations issued by OSHA as of January 15, 2022. In addition, the new penalties can be applied to any company that has a current open inspection with OSHA, even if the inspection occurred prior to January 15. This means that any inspection that has not been closed on or before that date is subject to the higher penalty amounts.
States With OSHA Approved Programs
According to the rule, the 22 states that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans must also increase their penalties. This is because the state approved programs must have requirements that are at least as effective as those issued by federal OSHA. The penalties are an important part of enforcement for state plans, and they need to be consistent with the new federal penalties.
The rule did not provide a deadline for when states had to revise their penalties. In some instances, the states will simply incorporate new rules by reference so the increase will have the same effective date as federal OSHA. In other instances, states will have to go through their own rulemaking process, which can take between 6 to 12 months so until that happens, a printing operation cited by their state will not pay the increased penalty.
Summary and Conclusion
Based on our experience, we have seen many instances where OSHA has issued citations with penalties at or near the maximum and itemizes each violation with its own penalty, so the total penalty is much higher. The average citation being issued to printing operations is typically in the $35,000-$40,000 range.
In addition, OSHA has changed their negotiation approach to penalty reductions and are only willing to reduce the proposed penalties by one-third of the assessed amount. Previously, OSHA would commonly reduce penalties by one-half.
This new round of penalty increases means now more than ever that members of PRINTING United Alliance need to assess their compliance status. To avoid injuries, violations, and large penalties, it's crucial to understand exactly what OSHA regulates and what inspectors looks for when they arrive to conduct an inspection. PRINTING United Alliance has resources and experts that can help you assess and comply with OSHA’s regulations.
If you have any questions or need any assistance with environment, health, and safety, please contact the Government Affairs or Human Resources Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or directly at Gary Jones, email@example.com, Marci Kinter at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Adriane Harrison, email@example.com.
Gary A. Jones is the director of environmental, health and safety (EHS) affairs at PRINTING United Alliance in Fairfax, VA. His primary responsibility is to monitor and analyze EHS regulatory activities at all domestic and some international government levels. He provides representation on behalf of the printing and specialty graphic imaging industry. In doing so, Mr. Jones works closely with the federal and state-level Environmental Protection Agencies (EPA), Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA), Department of Transportation (DOT), and other agencies. He also provides membership assistance on EHS compliance and sustainability programs through a variety of approaches including responding to inquiries, presentations, writing, and consulting services.
Mr. Jones is also supporting PRINTING United Alliance’s efforts for the Sustainable Green Printing Partnership (SGP). SGP is dedicated to assisting printing operations respond to the customer demand for sustainable printing.
He holds a BS in biology from LaRoche College and an MS in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh.