Increased In OSHA Penalties to Motivate Compliance to High Standards

by Lawton Brothers | Sep 21, 2016

occupational safety
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the governing body that sets health and safety standards for workplaces all across the country. As of August 1st, 2016 the penalties for safety violations have been adjusted. Fines have been increased 80 percent to account for inflation since they were last adjusted in 1990. This steep increase in penalties can only motivate janitorial crews to reach for high standards and remain compliant with all of OSHA’s regulations.

How Have The Rates Increased?

The last time congress passed a law to adjust OSHA violations was in 1990. At the time the maximum a company would have to pay per violation was $7,000. If action was not taken to correct the violation, the company could be charged $7,000 per day, and if  the company repeatedly and willfully violated health and safety laws their maximum penalty was $70,000. The new penalties are adjusted for 26 years of inflation. Now, companies will be fined $12,471 for a violation, and will have to pay $12,471 per day that the violation is unreconciled.  Accordingly, the maximum amount a company must pay for repeated refusal to comply with health and safety standards has been raised to $124,709.

How Will This Affect My Business?

Since the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970, OSHA has been responsible for ensuring all workplaces are safe for employees. They set and enforce standards as well as provide training, assistance, and resources. OSHA is more than happy to help businesses, especially high-risk businesses like those in the janitorial and sanitation sectors, learn how to keep their employees safe. However, if they find you are not in compliance they will fine you. By making sure that you are in compliance with the OSHA standards, this increase in rates will only affect your business for the better. If you are not in compliance, you can expect a hefty fine.

 

How Can I Ensure My Business is OSHA Compliant?

 

It is your responsibility as a business owner to make sure your employees have a safe place to work, are using materials that allow them to remain safe, and understand what a safe work environment means. For janitorial crews, this can be difficult because so many cleaning agents are considered hazardous chemicals. Similarly, some custodial crews work in various sites, like schools  and medical centers. To remain in compliance your team members must be trained in safety best practices as well as be required to wear any applicable safety equipment, such as respirators and non-slip shoes.  You must also do your homework when purchasing chemicals for your jobs. Speaking with the staff at a custodial supply company like the professionals at Lawton Brothers, can help you choose the safest and OSHA compliant cleaning products for your crew.

 

There are many other ways you can ensure your custodial business is compliant with OSHA regulations. First you must understand the responsibility you take on as a business owner in keeping your employees safe from harm. This includes adequate training, ensuring all equipment and supplies are safe, and posting OSHA materials so your employees understand their rights and responsibilities.  You can request a free on-site consultation through the osha.gov website. This consultation is not an inspection, rather an opportunity for your business to learn if you are OSHA compliant and understand where challenges lie and how to remedy them so when inspection time comes around, you won’t be paying the $12,471 penalty.  After a consultation, you may also be able to identify illness or injury prevention programs that will help your employees remain in excellent health.

 

It is expected that after 26 years OSHA would decide to increase the rates of their penalties. However, this eighty percent increase does not have to affect your custodial company. If you remain in compliance with the health and safety laws you will never have to feel the impact of this increase in rates. If you have questions about whether or not your janitorial company is OSHA compliant, give us a call at Lawton Brothers today. We can help you understand OSHA’s regulations and show you how to get in touch with an OSHA consultant. Further, we are experts on which janitorial supplies can help you get the job done safely. 

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