Come August 2, the maximum penalties for OSHA fines will go up in their first increase since 1990.
The jump will not be small.
To make up for 26 years of not adjusting for inflation, the agency will hike its fines by 78% this year.
- For Serious, Other-Than-Serious, and Posting Requirements violations, the maximum penalty will go from $7,000 to $12,471 per violation.
- For Failure to Abate violations, the maximum penalty will go from $7,000 to $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date.
- For Willful or Repeated violations, the maximum penalty will go from $70,000 to $124,709 per violation.
Going forward, the fines will be inflation-adjusted on a yearly basis.
In advance of these increases, we thought it would be interesting to take a look at the most cited OSHA standards in food manufacturing between October 2014 and September 2015, and then calculate what these same penalties could look like after the increase.
Here they are.
1. The control of hazardous energy (Lockout/tagout)
Current penalties: $1,260,126
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $2,243,024
OSHA Standard 1910.147 covers maintenance and service work on machines and equipment that could unexpectedly energize or start up, harming the people working on them. To reduce these hazards, OSHA requires manufacturers to implement a full protection program including standardized lockout/tagout protocols, full employee protection, and training and communication about the hazards and safety procedures.
2. General requirements for all machines (machinery and machine guarding)
Current penalties: $1,133,289
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $2,017,254
OSHA Standard 1910.212 covers requirements related to guarding. It also specifies that fixed machinery must be anchored to prevent walking or moving.
3. Process safety management of highly hazardous chemicals
Current penalties: $776,247
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $1,381,720
OSHA Standard 1910.119 aims to prevent the release of hazardous chemicals that can lead to toxic environments, fires, or explosions. The standard is extensive, covering everything from how to inform employees about process safety to performing process hazard analyses, to standard operating procedures and hot work permitting.
4. Hazard communication (toxic and hazardous substances)
Current penalties: $141,849
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $252,491
OSHA Standard 1910.1200 focuses on how information about hazardous chemicals is communicated to employees, including how chemicals are labeled and the distribution of safety data sheets. It was updated in 2012 to align with the UN Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS), Revision 3.
5. Wiring methods, components, and equipment for general use
Current penalties: $371,297
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $660,909
OSHA Standard 1910.305 covers requirements related to permanent and temporary wiring installations, as well as components like raceways, frames, and fittings. This is the first standard on this list to deal with dust. It specifies that “no wiring systems of any type may be installed in ducts used to transport dust, loose stock, or flammable vapors.”
6. Mechanical power-transmission apparatus
Current penalties: $308,764
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $549,600
OSHA Standard 1910.219 is related to the machine guarding standard in the #2 spot on this list. It establishes requirements for types and shapes of power-transmission belts, pulleys, gears, and more.
7. Respiratory protection
Current penalties: $89,366
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $159,071
OSHA Standard 1910.134 describes procedural and personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements in areas where the air may be contaminated with dusts, gases, sprays, and other potentially harmful substances. This PPE includes respirators, dust masks, and hoods. Employers must also develop a written respiratory protection program.
8. Powered industrial trucks
Current penalties: $164,106
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $292,109
OSHA Standard 1910.178 covers safety design and construction requirements for trucks used in industrial settings. It also details what types of trucks are allowed in different hazardous location classifications.
9. General requirements (electrical)
Current penalties: $258,090
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $459,400
OSHA Standard 1910.303 outlines requirements for all aspects of approving, installing, and using electrical equipment.
10. Guarding floor and wall openings and holes
Current penalties: $241,686
Maximum penalties for equivalent citations after August 1: $430,201
Finally, OSHA Standard 1910.23 describes how to guard openings and holes in a facility’s floors and walls. This includes stairways, skylights, and other similar constructions.
There you have it. The top 10 most cited OSHA standards for the food manufacturing industry, and a glimpse at what these violations could cost in the very near future.
Our favorite standard, 1910.22, which covers housekeeping, didn’t make the top 10. But it did come in at #15, with 36 citations that resulted in penalties of $85,765. After July, those same 36 citations could cost food manufacturing companies as much as $152,662.
The price of non-compliance is going up. Don’t be caught unprepared.
Learn more in our Food Industry Professional’s Basic Guide to OSHA Standards.