Gulfshore Insurance > Gulfshore Blog > Commercial Risk Management > New Increases to OSHA Penalties

For the past quarter century, the amount of OSHA penalties has remained static due to an exemption contained within the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990. However, new increases were recently introduced through the Bipartisan Budget Act – Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which was passed on November 2, 2015.

This bill contains a provision that eliminates the previous exemption applicable to OSHA penalties and, in addition, requires the federal agency to increase their penalties on an annual basis to keep up with inflation. Going forward, the annual increases will be based on the Consumer Price Index.  The legislation also gave OSHA the ability to implement an initial large increase of 78% to compensate for lack of inflation increases since the last adjustment in 1990. This significant increase is reflected in the difference between the existing maximum penalty and the new maximum penalty amounts in the chart below.

Violation Type Existing Maximum Penalty New Maximum Penalty
Other-Than-Serious Posting Requirements $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Serious $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Posting Requirement $7,000 per violation $12,471 per violation
Failure to Abate $7,000 per day beyond the abatement date $12,471 per day beyond the abatement date
Willful or Repeated $70,000 per violation $124,709 per violation

The new penalty amounts take effect and will apply towards fines imposed after August 1, 2016, which will also include any related violations that took place after November 2, 2015.

This development and the recent OSHA Recordkeeping Ruling are causes for businesses to be extra vigilant in ensuring they have an adequate safety program in place, are aware of any potential workplace hazards, and verify whether their employees are up-to-date on appropriate safety training.

For further information regarding the new increases to OSHA penalties, please see the additional resources below.

Resources and additional links:


Ashley Garner, CPCU, AIC, AINS is a Risk Management Associate at Gulfshore Insurance. Ashley works with a wide range of business clients to deliver strategic risk analysis and guidance. Comments and questions are welcome at