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OSHA critics often complain that the maximum allowed penalties have not changed since 1990 when the penalties were set at $7,000 (other than serious and serious) and $70,000 (repeat or willful). The “Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015” will both cause a dramatic increase in those amounts and will result in those amounts being indexed to the Consumer Price Index.

That budget bill, signed by President Obama on Monday, November 2, 2015, requires that OSHA penalties be increased by the amount the Consumer Price Increased between 1996 and 2015, which is nearly 52%. Thus, penalties will now increase to $10,616 (other than serious and serious) and $106,658 (repeat and willful). These increases are set to go into effect no later than August 1, 2016. Further, starting in January, 2017, the penalties will be adjusted for inflation.

While OSHA has been proposing larger and larger penalties since 2010, it is clear that being non-compliant with applicable OSHA regulations will get more and more costly over time.

We will continue to monitor OSHA and legislation that could impact its operation and write about significant developments in the future.