In regulatory news:

Fred Hosier of Safety News Alert addressed the looming OSHA penalty increases in a recent post. The President’s Management and Budget Office issued a document to agency heads in late February delineating the changes to several programs under the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, of which increased penalties for OSHA violations are a part. New penalties are set to begin on August 1st, 2016. Employers that are inspected prior to the start date will still be subject to the new penalty rates if citations are issued after August 1st.

The exact amount of the penalty increases remains somewhat unclear. Hosier explains: “The document explaining the increases states that OSHA can raise penalties 1.78156 times their current amount. That’s the amount of increase in the Consumer Price Index from 1990 which was the last time OSHA fines were increased. Rounding to the nearest dollar, that would raise the maximum serious fine from $7,000 to $12,471. The max repeat or willful fine would go from $70,000 to $124,709. The bill passed last fall that gives OSHA the ability to increase fines allows the agency to ask for a smaller amount. But so far, OSHA hasn’t asked for that, so it appears the increase will be the maximum allowed by the law.”

Read Hosier’s post in full on Safety News Alert here. Read FAQs from OSHA about the increase here.

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