New OSHA Penalties Put Pressure on Employers
On January 15, 2022, new penalties went into effect for employers regulated by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). The increases come from the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 2015 that adjusts government fines for inflation. California employers also experienced changes to Cal/OSHA penalties beginning January 1, 2022, with the enforcement of Senate Bill 606. Increased penalties and enforcement put pressure on employers to create compliant and safe work practices for their employees.

OSHA Violations

Serious violations range from $1,036 to $14,502, whereas repeated violations can cost employers up to $145,027 per violation. Not meeting posting requirements can result in a violation of $14,502. Once OSHA issues a citation, employers are required to pay the fine and correct the issue within 15 working days. If no action is taken in 30 days, an additional penalty of $14,405 can be issued per violation.

Senate Bill 606

California employers may not be experiencing the same inflated penalties as states under federal jurisdiction. However, with the introduction of Senate Bill 606, Cal/OSHA’s powers of enforcement grew more robust. The bill creates two new categories of violations: Enterprise-wide and Egregious.

  • Enterprise-wide violations – if an employer has multiple worksites, a non-compliant policy, and/or there is evidence of a pattern of noncompliance
    • Penalties range from $8,908 to $124,709
  • Egregious violations – Cal/OSHA is now authorized to increase penalties in the following situations:
    • The employer, intentionally through voluntary action or inaction, made no reasonable effort to eliminate the known violation;
    • The violations resulted in worker fatalities, a worksite catastrophe, or a large number of injuries or illnesses;
    • The violations resulted in persistently high rates of worker injuries or illnesses;
    • The employer has an extensive history of prior violations;
    • The employer has intentionally disregarded their health and safety responsibilities;
    • The employer’s conduct, taken as a whole, amounts to clear bad faith in the performance of their duty to provide occupational safety to their employees; or
    • The employer has committed a large number of violations to undermine the effectiveness of any safety and health program that might be in place.

What should employers do next?

Understanding the significance of how Federal and State regulations impact business decisions is a crucial component to building a culture of safety and compliance. Employers should take active steps to ensure compliance by establishing a safety program, conducting safety training at appropriate intervals, and providing necessary PPE. Employers need to empower employees to build safe habits and report hazards immediately to supervisors.

OSHA violations are costly for employers, but they can be avoided or minimized by working with Emplicity Risk Management and Human Resources Consultants. Emplicity will provide a thorough analysis of your worksite and assist in establishing your injury and illness prevention plan. Request a quote today!


Facing Penalties?

About Emplicity:
Since 1995, Emplicity has provided a smarter, more secure, and integrated platform of employer services to its 300 business clients and their 8,500 employees. As a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO, the California-based HR outsourcing firm simplifies the compliance, administration, and support businesses need in the areas of employee benefits, payroll, and human resources technology.

NOTICE: Emplicity provides HR advice and recommendations. Information provided by Emplicity is not intended as a substitute for employment law counsel. At no time will Emplicity have the authority or right to make decisions on behalf of its clients.

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