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The Heat Is On—Don’t Get Burned by OSHA Fines 

Man wipes sweat from under his sunglasses

Addendum: Since the original post, OSHA fines have increased again. New penalties for willful and repeat violations are $129,336 per violation; serious, other-that-serious, and posting requirements are $12,934 per violation, and failure to correct violations is $12,934 for each day the condition continues.

Did you know that OSHA fine limits increased dramatically over the two years?[1] It has been over two decades since OSHA made a change like this, and penalty limits will only continue to rise.

Over the past two years OSHA increased its penalty limit by nearly 80 percent! OSHA also announced that from now on penalties would be linked to inflation, increasing annually. Serious and other-than-serious penalties went from $7,000 to over $12,000 and willful and repeat violations now top $120,000.[2]

Whether it’s a Serious violation, an Other-than-Serious Violation, a Failure to Abate Prior Violation, a Willful violation, or a Repeat violation (see Appendix, below), penalties[3] are going through the roof. Thus, it is more important than ever to make sure you’re in complete compliance. Otherwise, you could find yourself paying out hefty fines, or even facing criminal liabilities. These are the last things you want to face as a company.

Again, these annual penalty increases will be inflation-linked to the consumer price index (CPI). The CPI changes in the price level of a market basket of consumer goods and services purchased by households. This can mean annual increases of several percentage points.

This new rise in penalties means taking risks can be costly. Heat exposure is one of the areas covered by OSHA in no small part because exposure to heat can cause illnesses like heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps, heat rash, and even death. There were 44 heat-related occupational deaths reported in the US in 2006. With a high-quality cooling system, these problems can be avoided.

The best way to not have to worry about rising penalties is to prevent violations. Focusing on a safe workplace and having the correct processes and training are critical to meeting OSHA guidelines. As a provider of commercial fans, Breezer Mobile Cooling helps ensure safety in the workplace by providing a cooler environment. Make Breezer Mobile Cooling fans a part of your robust safety program and avoid having to undergo an OSHA inspection and possible fines.

To learn more about how Breezer Mobile Cooling can offer a climate of safety with our specialized commercial cooling solutions, visit http://powerbreezer.com/climate-of-safety today!

Appendix

A Serious Violation is a “substantial probability that death or serious harm can result and that the employer knew or should have known, of the hazard.” Examples include fall hazards, not wearing the proper safety equipment, and unsafe electrical issues. Serious violations make up 70 percent of all federal violations.

An Other-Than-Serious Violation is one with a direct relationship to job safety and health, but would probably not cause death or serious physical harm. A common example would be failure to provide documentation around safety. These are the second most common violations.

Failure to Abate Prior Violations occur when you had a recent inspection, are cited for violations, and did not make corrections in an appropriate time frame designed by OSHA.

Willful Violations occur when a violation is demonstrated to have been intentional, meaning the company knowingly or voluntarily disregarded the law’s requirements or demonstrated plain indifference to employee safety and health. When a willful violation is found, a good faith effort is not applicable to reduce penalties, and if a willful violation results in a workplace fatality, criminal sanctions can follow in addition to the extensive OSHA penalties.

Repeat Violations occur when an employer undergoes another inspection and still has not corrected the conditions or hazards previously cited by OSHA within the past five years.

[1]https://www2.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=TESTIMO…

[2] https://www.osha.gov/dep/2015_enforcement_summary.html

[3] https://www.osha.gov/penalties/

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