Dave Blanchard, editor in chief of EHS Today, recently spoke with managing editor Nicole Stempak and senior editor Adrienne Selko to examine some recent developments in occupational health and safety and what those changes might mean for safety professionals for the weeks and months to come. These developments include:
- OSHA increasing civil penalty amounts
- The U.S. Department of Labor introducing its independent contractor rule
- OSHA inspectors switching from traditional hard hats to modern safety helmets
- The effects of workplace stress on employee mental health
Below is an excerpt from the podcast:
First of all, as happens every year at this time, OSHA has increased the civil penalty amounts, which actually they're required to do by law. These are referred to as cost-of-living adjustments, but whatever you want to call them, these fines and penalties are going to be more expensive in 2024. These increases went into effect on January 16. So OSHA's maximum penalties for serious and other-than-serious violations will increase from $15,625 per violation. That was last year. In 2024, the maximum penalty is now going to be $16,131 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations will increase from $156,259 per violation to $161,323 per violation.
Now, also, keep this in mind. All states that have their own occupational safety and health agencies are also required to adopt maximum penalty levels at the same level, if not higher, than federal OSHA. So if your company or organization is located in one of those states, you can expect to see those increases as well.