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Due to a provision in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, all agencies with civil monetary penalties covered by the statute have the authority to raise penalties annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). Some agencies affected by this increase include DOL, EPA and OSHA. The provision also allows OSHA to have a one-time “catch-up adjustment” in 2016 since the fines have not increased since 1990.

On July 1, 2016, DOL issued an Interim Final Rule increasing the civil monetary penalties, which goes into effect Aug. 1, 2016. OSHA penalties are being increased by 78 percent. OSHA’s website also notes that any citations issued after Aug. 1, 2016, will be subject to the new penalties if the related violations occurred after Nov. 2, 2015. After OSHA makes the initial adjustment, the agency will increase penalties annually with the CPI. (Adjustments must be made by Jan. 15 each year.) States that have their own Occupational Safety and Health Plans must adopt penalty levels that are as effective as federal OSHA standards.