New Year: New OSHA Penalties, Full Commission And New Top Ten List

Cozen O'Connor

Cozen O'ConnorAs we start the new year, following the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act which Congress passed in 2015, OSHA announced revised increased maximum penalty levels effective January 15, 2020:

Classification Maximum Penalty
Serious: $13,494
Other-Than-Serious: $13,494
Repeat: $134,937
Willful: $134,937
Failure to Abate: $13,494 per day beyond the abatement date

In addition, following Senate confirmations on January 9, 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (“Commission”) now has a quorum with the confirmation of Cynthia Attwood and Amanda Wood Laihow.  Since April of 2019, James Sullivan, a former partner at Cozen O’Connor, had been the only Commissioner. Mr. Sullivan was elevated to Chairman of the Commission in July of 2019.  Although Chairman Sullivan could not issue decisions pending on appeal because of the lack of quorum, he has remained busy designating cases for review.  According to the Commission’s website, there are approximately 23 cases pending for review. 

Finally, we take a look at OSHA’s top ten violations for 2019 which can be a helpful tool for employers looking to focus on safety and health issues in 2020.

  1. Fall Protection (General Requirements – 1926.501)
  2. Hazard Communication (1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding (1926.451)
  4. Lockout/Tagout (1910.147)
  5. Respiratory Protection (1910.134)
  6. Ladders (1926.1053)
  7. Powered Industrial Trucks (1910.178)
  8. Fall Protection – Training Requirements (1926.503)
  9. Machine Guarding (1910.212)
  10. PPE – Lifesaving Equipment and Eye and Face Protection (1926.102)

We hope everyone has a great and safe 2020 and look forward to bringing you timely safety and health information throughout the new year.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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