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$50,000 minimum: House committee proposes significant hikes to OSHA fines

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Photo: Waldemarus/iStockphoto

Washington — The House Education and Labor Committee is proposing substantial increases to OSHA fines as part of the budget resolution for fiscal year 2022, which begins Oct. 1.

Approved Sept. 10, the committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act seeks to raise OSHA’s minimum fine for willful or repeated violations to $50,000 from $9,753 and the maximum to $700,000 from $136,532.

“As part of the Build Back Better plan, workers’ rights are strengthened with provisions to apply civil monetary penalties for labor law violations and by updating the dollar amount of worker safety penalties so they are large enough to serve as an adequate deterrent,” Committee Chair Bobby Scott (D-VA) said in a Sept. 9 press release.

Serious and failure-to-abate violations would move to a maximum of $700,000 from $13,653. Fines for the latter violations are on a per-day basis.

In a separate release, Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC) said Democrats “want to put private business out of business.”


He added: “For example, the Democrat [Amendment in the Nature of a Substitute] includes provisions that would hike monetary Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) penalties for private businesses by 512%.

“To be clear, committee Republicans do not condone employers that violate important labor laws, and we have always supported the authority of OSHA to hold bad actors accountable through enforcement and existing monetary penalties. But the Democrats’ proposals unnecessarily put a target on the backs of business owners to appease their big labor allies.”

The committee’s portion of the Build Back Better Act includes a proposal to give OSHA $707 million for enforcement, development of standards, whistleblower investigations, compliance assistance, State Plan funding and related activities. It also includes a proposal to provide $133 million to the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

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