OSHA Penalties Raised for 2020
OSHA raised its civil penalties by approximately 1.8 percent on January 15, 2020. The final rule implements annual inflation adjustments of civil monetary penalties assessed or enforced by OSHA and other agencies within the Department of Labor in 2020, as required by the Inflation Adjustment Act (Public Law 114-74). OSHA's penalty increases for workplace safety and health violations include:
- For a willful violation, in which an employer knowingly failed to comply with an OSHA standard or demonstrated a plain indifference for employee safety, the minimum penalty increases from $9,472 to $9,639 and the maximum penalty increases from $132,598 to $134,937;
- For each repeated violation for an identical or substantially similar violation previously cited by the agency, the penalty ceiling rises from $132,598 to $134,937;
- For each serious violation for workplace hazards that could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, the maximum penalty increases from $13,260 to $13,494;
- For each other-than-serious violation, the maximum penalty increases from $13,260 to $13,494;
- For each failure to correct violation, the maximum penalty increases from $13,260 to $13,494; and
- For each posting requirement violation, the maximum penalty increases from $13,260 to $13,494.
New penalty amounts take effect immediately, applying to any penalties assessed after January 15.
Focus Four Health: Manual Material Handling
You are familiar with OSHA’s Focus Four in construction, but you may not be familiar with the Focus Four - Health recently distributed by the American Industrial Hygiene Association (AIHA). The Focus Four Health are; Manual Material Handling, Noise, Air Contaminants, and High Temperatures.
Consider the extent to which the following list of five common risk factors applies to manual material handling jobs at your worksite. The results represent the exposure potential, and higher exposure means an increased likelihood of overexertion-related problems. An easy way to remember is to ask W-H-A-T PACE?
- Weight: The heavier the load the higher the risk.
- Handling ease: Difficult-to-maneuver loads, such as items with no handles or that cannot be carried close to the body, loads with contents that are likely to move are all higher risk. Also, loads to be handled on uneven or slippery surfaces are higher risk.
- Awkward postures: Loads that require postures such as stooping, reaching, twisting, bending or kneeling are higher risk.
- Time/distance: Loads that require a longer time to handle or a longer carrying distance are higher risk.
- PACE: Handling many loads per shift is a risk factor.
Use the NIOSH checklist for lifting, carrying, pushing or pulling that includes specific weights, distances, and times. Apply The Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR) Materials Handling Contractor Planning Tools. Use the your JSAs to raise awareness among supervisors and workers and to demonstrate the proper work procedures and controls for reducing overexertion.