The new penalties are being introduced by The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These penalties are increased versions of the penalties that already existed. The penalties are in place to ensure that work sites are safe for everyone involved. These kinds of changes are an industry-wide movement to promote safety in the workplace.
The OSHA has implemented a 78% rise in the dollar amount of penalties for safety violations. Intentional or repeated violations which were previously fined at $70,000 will now be fined to the tune of $124,709. First-time violations of a less serious nature used to incur a fine of $7,000 but will now incur $12,471 worth of fines. These changes are very significant for industry professionals. Although safety has always been of the highest importance, it now also comes with a dollar value. No employer wants to experience these fines, and because of this, it is likely that more stringent safety requirements and guidelines will be introduced in the workplaces.
Reasons for the Increase
Many reasons have been cited for the new increases in violation penalties. The most prominent of these reasons were, however, increasing equality amongst employers, cracking down on unsafe workplaces, and adjusting for the current price of living in the United States. The OSHA had been experiencing some negligence on the part of certain companies in terms of paying existing fines. This meant that some employers were disregarding the fines and thereby creating an unfair advantage for themselves. It is unacceptable for some companies to brush off safety regulations while others abide by them faithfully. The new penalties were designed to deter those companies that have not been adhering to safety procedures from continuing to do so. The second reason is simply that across the board safety needs to see an increase amongst employers. Construction deaths were 20.6% of total private industry deaths last year. Construction, in particular, can be a dangerous profession and the more that companies are incentivised to stay safe the better. Last, but not least, The OHSA increased the fines to bring them up to par with the Consumer Price Index. When the fines were last updated in 1990 the average American’s yearly salary was $21,027, now the average American makes upwards of $46,000. The fines, therefore have to increase in line with the increased purchasing power of the average American.
As a result of these new penalties, the OHSA hopes to see a drastic increase in safety regulations across the industry. Companies that previously disregarded safety regulations and put their workers in danger will no longer be able to dodge the large fines now in place. These safety improvements, brought about by the increased penalties, will attract more talent to the skilled labor industries as more people feel safe working with these employers.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has implemented new and more expensive fines for safety violations in the workplace. The increase was caused by several different factors, and will hopefully result in safer workplaces across the board. We hope you have found this article informative, and remember that safety is a number one priority!
Sources: Construction Dive, Social Security Administration
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