OSHA/VOSH Penalties IncreaseFebruary 26, 2020, 01:00 PM
Each year the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and it’s Virginia partner, VOSH, perform thousands of workplace inspections, most of which result in Citations that include penalties to the employer. Since 2015 when the penalties increased nationwide by nearly 80%, smaller increases indexed to inflation have occurred each year. Effective January 1, 2020, the maximum penalty for a serious (most often cited) violation increased to $13,494. The maximum penalty for a repeat or willful violation is ten times that amount or $134,937. It should be noted that each Citation may carry multiple penalties.
About 40% of OSHA and VOSH inspections occur in preplanned, unannounced visits for higher hazard industries such as manufacturing and construction, but the majority of inspections result from worker complaints, referrals from other public agencies, local first responders, and observations of health and safety staff as they travel their localities. Current regional emphasis programs for Virginia employers include reducing fall hazards, noise control, combustible dust, and maritime safety, including ship building and repair, cargo handling and navigation.
Workplace safety is important for all employers, but accidents happen, which is why Kaufman and Canoles routinely assists clients in responding to OSHA/VOSH Citations. This assistance can help with abatement of violations and/or substantial reduction of penalties.