Oregon OSHA Proposes to Increase Penalties

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August 1, 2016, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration significantly increased the maximum penalties for violation citations. As a result of these changes, Oregon OSHA has proposed to increase the minimum and maximum penalties for alleged violations to reflect the recent penalty increases by federal OSHA. Oregon OSHA proposes the following increases:

  • Minimum Penalty for an Infraction Reasonably Likely to Result in Death: $3,500 (previously $2,100);
  • Maximum Penalty for an Infraction Reasonably Likely to Result in Serious Physical Harm (defined as injuries or illnesses that could shorten life or significantly reduce physical or mental efficiency – e.g., amputations, fractures, burns, concussions, internal injuries): $2,000 (previously $1,250);
  • Maximum Penalty for an Infraction Reasonably Likely to Result in Death: $12,500 (previously $7,500);
  • Maximum Discretionary Penalty: $12,675 (previously $7,000) (this can be assessed for any violation “after considering the facts”);
  • Maximum Daily Penalty for Non-abatement: $12,675 (previously $7,000);
  • Maximum Penalty for a Violation Categorized as “Repeat”: $126,749 (previously $70,000);
  • Maximum Penalty for Failure to Report an Occupational Fatality, Catastrophe, or Accident: $12,675 (previously $7,000);
  • Maximum Penalty for Failure to Register a Farm Labor Camp/Facility: $12,675 (previously $7,000); and
  • Maximum Penalty for a Violation Categorized as Willful or Egregious: $126,749 (previously $70,000).

Oregon OSHA also proposes making a 20% increase in the assessed penalty mandatory where a compliance officer determines that the information demonstrates a “poorer than normal” effort to comply with the law and rules.

In an effort to soften the potential impact of these changes on small employers, Oregon OSHA proposes increasing the percent reduction for employers with only 1-10 employees to 75% (previously 60%).

Oregon OSHA has scheduled one public hearing on the proposed rule, and it will accept comments on the rule until December 15, 2017. Oregon OSHA anticipates adopting a final version of this rule in December.

For more information on the proposed rule and to learn more about the opportunities to become involved in the rulemaking process, visit Oregon OSHA’s web page for the proposed rule by clicking on this link.

Key Contributors

Louis A. Ferreira
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