OSHA announced earlier this month that the maximum penalties for violating the Agency's safety rules will rise by 78%, starting Aug. 1. The hike implements changes in last November's passage by Congress of the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act. That law requires federal agencies to publish "catch-up" rules to adjust fines for inflation. OSHA's maximum penalties haven't changed since 1990, and presumably a fine imposed today may not impart the same sting it once did.
Labor Secretary Thomas Perez explains:
“Civil penalties should be a credible deterrent that influences behavior far and wide. Adjusting our penalties to keep pace with the cost of living can lead to significant benefits for workers and can level the playing field for responsible employers who should not have to compete with those who don’t follow the law.”