OSHA Penalties Go Large

DeniseBlommelBy Denise M. Blommel
Employment Law Attorney

Members of Congress had to take deep breaths and hold their noses to pass the 2015 Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, which kept the federal government open for business. It also mandated a nearly 80% cost of living “catch up” increase to penalties imposed by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

You may remember when the “serious violation penalty” was $1,000. It increased to $7,000 in 1990 and has remained there. In comparison, the yardstick Consumer Price Index, has gone up 78% since 1990.

As a prudent businessperson, you need to assume that federal OSHA will raise penalties by the entire amount. As Arizona is a Section 18 State (meaning OSHA allows our Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health to handle all workplace safety matters), we must follow OSHA’s lead. You can expect serious penalties to range from $7,000 to $12,500. Expect willful and repeat violations to range from $70,000 to $125,000.

Scared yet?

It pays to be up to date on OSHA regulations. Consider attending Safety Works Plus this summer, a daylong educational event sponsored by the safety pros at CopperPoint Insurance Companies. Topics ranging from workplace safety, accident investigations, OSHA reporting  and trends in compensability issues will be presented. Click here For information and to register.

OSHA unveils updated hot weather app

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A phone app from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns workers and others who will be outside as summer heats up of risks of heat-related illness, and provides preventive steps.

A phone app from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration warns workers and others who will be outside as summer heats up of risks of heat-related illness, and provides preventive steps.

By NIHAL KRISHAN
Cronkite News
WASHINGTON – Occupational Safety and Health Administration officials had a message Wednesday for workers and others who expect to be outside working and playing as summer heats up: Shade, water and rest for safety.

And if that’s too much to remember, OSHA has an app for that. And it’s free.

The federal agency actually has had the OSHA Heat app since 2011, but recently it unveiled an updated version of the phone app that provides users with a heat index reading for a particular location and gives precautions to help prevent heat-related illnesses. Continue reading

If You’re Driving, Don’t Touch That High-tech Console, Mobile Device

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High technology is woven inextricably into our daily lives, but at times it may pose a more dangerous risk than we can imagine. Take today’s newer model automobiles; they are packed with electronic screens for parking, using GPS, watching video, listening to satellite radio stations or talking with others – all at the touch of a driver’s fingertips. Continue reading