OSHA Violations are Now More Expensive
For the first time since 1990, OSHA has increased it fines for serious and willful violations. The new law took effect on August 1, 2016. The maximum penalty for serious violations has been increased from $7,000 to $12,471 and the maximum penalty for willful or repeat violation has been increased from $70,000 to $124,709.
Fines of this size can be devastating to small contractors, who do not have the resources to fight or pay for the fines and who have less resources to purchase the equipment required to become OSHA compliant. OSHA has been very active this summer. Over the last several months, we have had a large number of contractors purchase new scaffolding and safety equipment from us in response to an OSHA inspection and fine. Don’t wait until it is too late. The best way to prevent a citation is to make sure your scaffolding is OSHA compliant. Some of the most common violations we see are insufficient planking, lack of safety posts and rails, and lack of ladders or stairs for access to the scaffolding.
More importantly, complying with OSHA standards keeps you and your workers safe. OSHA reports 937 construction-related deaths in 2015, this accounts for 1/5 of workplace fatalities every year across all industries. Injuries and fatalities are a common occurrence in the construction industry and the increased fines for OSHA violations are related to such high numbers. The fines are to provide extra motivation for contractors to spend the extra time to educate themselves to work safely and to spend the extra money to make your job site safe. There is no excuse for a serious injury because a contractor didn’t want to spend money on something like guardrails that cost $5/each.
If you have any questions about making your scaffolding OSHA compliant, please contact us and we can help. We can assist you on contesting OSHA fines. Be advised that you have 15 days to contest. We also offer OSHA competent person scaffolding training.