It’s always your goal to keep your employees safe and avoid OSHA fines. And, with a recent rise in penalty rates, it’s a matter that becomes even more important.
The Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015 (Section 701(b)) requires agencies to make annual adjustments for inflation to civil monetary penalties (CMPs).
As part of the act, this is done “without needing to provide notice and the opportunity for public comment.”
The Inflation Adjustment Act requires agencies to:
- Adjust the level of civil monetary penalties with an initial “catch-up” adjustment through an interim final rule.
- Make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation, no later than January 15 of each year.
Because January 15 falls on a Sunday, with January 16 a federal holiday, these new numbers take effect January 17, 2023.
OSHA’s maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $14,502 per violation to $15,625 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations increases from $145,027 per violation to $156,259 per violation. You can read more on the 2023 adjustment here and here.
Let’s examine some of the steps you can take to avoid OSHA fines altogether, and keep your business running smoothly.
Related Article: Fined By OSHA? Here’s What You Need To Do Next.
How to Stay Safe and Avoid OSHA Fines
Avoiding OSHA violations is important not only for the health of your business, but for the health and safety of your workers.
Nobody wants to work for a company that puts their health and safety in jeopardy.
There are several ways your business can increase your chances of receiving OSHA fines. Let’s take a look at 5 of the major methods.
1. Allow workers speak up without fear of punishment.
Your team works out in the field, in the shop, or other jobsite location every day. As a result, they often spot potential problems and hazards more readily than management or those who only check in on occasion.
When you allow your employees to report hazards anonymously or without fear of reprisal, management can then address the situation before accidents or fines occur.
2. Use technology to your advantage.
Most people have smartphones and tablets these days, so remain compliant by leaning on mobile technology.
When you let technology and mobile apps track data and evaluate processes and procedures in real time, it’s easy to know if you’re following the rules. It also can save you time and money without using outdated processes and relying on paperwork.
3. Develop a prevention plan.
You should always educate your workers on applicable OSHA standards. As part of your prevention plant, conduct surprise workplace inspections similar to those OSHA conducts.
In terms of both safety and monetary fines, the stakes are high. Putting a plan in force early can be very helpful.
Related Article: What Happens If You Don’t Pay Your OSHA Fine?
4. Ensure comprehensive training for new workers.
When hiring a new worker, typically you’ll train them on their role and equipment they’ll be operating as one of the first steps of onboarding.
But, you’ll want to take it a step further. Ensuring every employee is fully trained and up-to-date on applicable safety standards could significantly reduce the incidence of workplace injuries.
5. Provide any adequate PPE
No matter what kind of hazard may be present on a worksite, there’s always some form of personal protective equipment to help protect affected workers.
As an employer, it’s your responsibility to provide complete training on any PPE necessary, including how to properly put on, adjustment and removal of PPE, and understanding any limitations of the equipment.
Paying an OSHA Fine
Hopefully, you can avoid OSHA fines altogether through strong adherence to safety standards and practices. But, if you do find yourself facing such a penalty, you have two options to pay.
- Online: Go to Pay.gov and follow the instructions. You can use a credit card, debit card, or provide the necessary bank account information. Pay.gov is a secure site
- By mail: Send a physical check or money order to pay your debt. On the memo line of your check or money order, write the OSHA Inspection Number. You will find that number in the letter you receive from OSHA regarding the particular fine.
You’ll need that number to ensure your payment is credited properly to your debt. If you mail your payment, mail it to the Area Office nearest you or the National Office.
Related Article: OSHA Top 10 Violations for 2022
Through strong safety programs, proper training, and constant in-house enforcement, it’s entirely possible to avoid OSHA fines altogether.
And, with the cost of fines rising every year, it’s an investment you can’t afford to skip. Even a single fine can derail your budget, and costs significantly more than simply providing the right training and equipment in the first place.
Remember: your employees comprise the heart and soul of your business. Keep them safe and protected, and they’ll continue providing valuable service.
*** About Worksite Medical
In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees. Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.
We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience.
You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.