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The new federal budget suggests that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will be increasing its inspections over the coming 12 months and increasing the severity of its fines.

A provision in the new federal budget – Section 701 – requires OSHA to “catch up” fine levels to account for increases in the Consumer Price Index over the past 25 years – the last time OSHA updated its fine schedule.

Under the new fine schedule, OSHA fines may increase by as much as 80 percent, meaning maximum fines could be $12,600 for “serious” violations to as much as $126,000 for “willful” violations.

As a result, companies should anticipate a more aggressive OSHA for the coming years as it seeks to “catch up” on revenue generation.  This development may mirror similar fine increases announced by other federal agencies as well as the DOL in whistleblower claims.  In total, employers will find a much more aggressive and potentially expensive enforcement environment over the coming months and years.

Employers should be preparing for OSHA inspections now as well as budgeting for what looks to be higher monetary fines.

For more information about this development, please contact your respective Johnson & Bell attorney or contact Robert M. Burke, Joseph B. Carini, III, Gregory D. Conforti or Joseph F. Spitzzeri.