Employers can protect their workers and avoid costly fines by implementing workplace safety programs, and their insurers may be able to help. Insurance company loss control consultants can help implement safety programs, provide training and connect employers with resources to make their workplaces safer.
Now is a good time to request this support, as employers who violate workplace safety regulations will find that fines are about to get a lot more costly.
OSHA FINES INCREASING
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is increasing its civil penalties for all employer violations of workplace safety regulations effective August 1, 2016 – the first such increase since 1990.
The federal Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 sets criteria for OSHA to increase its civil penalties. The first adjustment in 2016 is considered a one-time catch-up adjustment, and fines could rise approximately 50 to 80 percent.
Employers should note that once the catch-up adjustment is implemented in August 2016, OSHA’s civil penalties will not remain stagnant. By law, penalties must increase annually. Beginning in 2017, annual inflation increases will be calculated based on the Consumer Price Index.
STATE OSHA PLANS
About half the states have OSHA-Approved State Plans for workplace safety enforcement with maximum penalties set by state law. These are unaffected by the Bipartisan Budget Act. However state plans must be at least as effective as OSHA, so states are likely to increase their civil penalties.
AVOID COSTLY CITATIONS
While an OSHA citation can be costly, the health and safety of employees is on the line when safety standards are not enforced in the workplace.
For assistance with implementing a safety program, training and other measures, please contact your local Ayres Group Agent