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OSHA Increased Civil Penalty Amounts

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) ensures safe and healthy working conditions for workers by making and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. Part of the agency’s enforcement standards permits it to assess penalties for OSHA violations.

On January 8, 2021, the U.S. Department of Labor announced adjustments to the OSHA civil penalty amounts. These increases apply to penalties assessed after January 15, 2021, as follows:

  • Serious violations: minimum of $964 per violation and maximum of $13,653 per violation.
  • Other-than-serious violations: minimum of $0 per violation and maximum of $13,653 per violation.
  • Willful or repeated violations: minimum of $9,639 per violation and maximum of $136,532 per violation.
  • Posting requirements violations: minimum of $0 per violation and maximum of $13,653 per violation.
  • Failure to abate violation: $13,653 per day unabated beyond the abatement date, which is generally limited to 30 days maximum.

The OSHA Act

The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

State Plan States

States that operate their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans are required to adopt maximum penalty levels that are at least as effective as federal OSHA’s.

Next Steps for Employers

Employers should take advantage of OSHA’s compliance assistance to avoid costly penalties. OSHA offers a variety of options for employers looking for compliance assistance. The On-Site Consultation Program provides professional, high-quality, individualized assistance to small businesses at no cost. OSHA also has compliance assistance specialists in most of our 85 Area Offices across the nation who provide robust outreach and education programs for employers and workers. For more information, employers may contact the Regional or Area Office nearest them.

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