Cal/OSHA Penalties Increase

posted Feb 5, 2018, 10:12 AM by Robert B Montgomery, R.E.H.S.

It has been two years since Congress enacted legislation requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation.  This resulted in the first increase in federal OSHA’s penalty amounts since 1990 – beginning with a whopping one-time increase of 78%.  For federal OSHA, the new penalties went into effect for citations issued on or after August 1, 2016.

Federal OSHA’s position was that this increase did apply to state-plan states and California has followed suit, amending its own penalty statute, 8 CCR 336, to increase statutory penalty amounts. The new penalty structure went into effect on September 14, 2017.

  • The maximum penalty for general and regulatory violations has increased from $7,000 to $12,471.
  • The minimum penalty for willful violations has increased from $5,000 to $8,908, and the maximum penalty has increased from $70,000 to $124,709.
  • The minimum and maximum penalties for serious violations in California were already higher than federal OSHA’s newly-adjusted maximum penalty of $12,675. The minimum penalty for a serious violation in California remains $18,000, and the maximum remains $25,000. However, separate penalty requirements for serious violations of the tower crane and carcinogen use standards, which were set at $2,000, have been removed.
  • Likewise, California’s existing maximum penalty for failure-to-abate, $15,000 per day, already exceeded federal OSHA’s newly-adjusted maximum penalty of $12,675, and has not been changed. For serious violations of a crane standard, order, or special order that have lead to death or serious injury, the maximum penalty of $14,000 per calendar day has not changed.
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