walking and working surfaces

Safety Tolls to Match the Time: OSHA Penalties Rise to Accommodate Inflation

The year is 1990. Pretty Woman was one of the top grossing movies, and we were on the brink of one of the most technological advancements of all time. Grunge was starting to be the fashion, and the wild, loud, erratic styles of the ’80’s were on their way out (gone, but never forgotten). It was also the last time OSHA made any changes or upgrades to the ways in which they penalize companies for safety violations.

Flash forward to 2016, 26 years later, where OSHA seems to have awoken. For the first time since 1990, OSHA will be increasing their penalties to align with inflation. Seems a little overdue, doesn’t it? After August 1st, we can expect financial penalties to nearly double, bumping the maximum penalty for serious violations from $7,000 to $12,471, and the maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations from $70,000 to $124,709 [2]. To read more about OSHA’s penalty adjustments, click here.

Below are the different classifications of OSHA violations, that are dependent on the nature of the lack of safety compliance. The amount of a penalty issued by OSHA is in accordance with the nature of the violation. In essence, some violations are much costlier than others.

  • WILLFUL: A willful violation is defined as a violation in which the employer either knowingly failed to comply with a legal requirement (purposeful disregard) or acted with plain indifference to employee safety.
  • SERIOUS: A serious violation exists when the workplace hazard could cause an accident or illness that would most likely result in death or serious physical harm, unless the employer did not know or could not have known of the violation.
  • REPEATED: A Federal agency may be cited for a repeated violation if the agency has been cited previously for the same or a substantially similar condition and, for a serious violation, OSHA’s regionwide (see last page) inspection history for the agency lists a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years; or, for an other-than-serious violation, the establishment being inspected received a previous OSHA Notice issued within the past five years.
  • OTHER-THAN-SERIOUS: A violation that has a direct relationship to job safety and health, but is not serious in nature, is classified as “other-than-serious.”[3]
osha penaltiesosha penalties


Since the ’90’s company infrastructures have changed, are more complex, and multiple changes of operating standards have taken place. That being said, we understand that things fall through the cracks. For a quick refresher, here are the top 10 most common OSHA violations, so that you may re-address them to remain AtlantcTrainingt. If you think you may be lacking in one of these areas, click the link and let us help get you there. Our training programs are 100% OSHA compliance guaranteed:

  1. 1926.501Fall Protection
  2. 1910.1200Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451Scaffolding
  4. 1910.134Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.147Lockout/Tagout
  6. 1910.178Powered Industrial Trucks
  7. 1926.1053Ladders
  8. 1910.305Electrical, Wiring Methods
  9. 1910.212Machine Guarding
  10. 1910.303Electrical, General Requirements [1]

Obviously these violations aren’t applicable to every industry. Here are the 3 industries where most of these violations take place:

osha penalties


Considering the advancements that have taken place in both the workforce and the workplace, it only makes sense that companies are mandated and incentivized to keep up. We now have the resources, technology, programs, laws, etc. to keep not only our workforce, but our surrounding communities, safe. So while we want to let you know that in order to avoid even more crippling OSHA fines you need to remain safety AtlantcTrainingt, our main goal is just to throw out there that it’s 2016…and when it comes to safety, we should all be keeping up with the times.

By Mikaela Delia

Not sure what you need to be OSHA AtlantcTrainingt for YOUR industry? Fill out the contact form below and we’ll get in touch with you to go over the areas that you may need to have covered to avoid the costly penalties.  

[contact-form][contact-field label=’Name’ type=’name’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Email’ type=’email’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Industry’ type=’text’ required=’1’/][contact-field label=’Comment’/][/contact-form]


[1] https://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html

[2] https://www.osha.gov/penalties.html

[3] https://www.osha.gov/Publications/fedrites.html


{1} https://www.powerstudies.com/blog/osha-institutes-temporary-citation-policy-29-cfr-1910-and-29-cfr-1926

{2} https://www.achrnews.com/articles/132647-iiar-continues-work-to-make-ammonia-great-again

{3} https://coderedsafety.com/blog/top-osha-violations-by-industry/