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Watch for Workplace Safety Violations as Fines Rise

safety violation fines

Texas employers subject to U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) oversight, take note: safety violation fines can total tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of dollars. And the stakes are rising every year.

Manufacturers, oil and gas companies, and construction companies receive the most citations among Texas employers. Fines for OSHA violations rose in 2019 and are slated to be adjusted for inflation by January 15 every year. Current 2019 rates are:

  • $13,260 for serious and “other than serious” violations (up from $12,675 in 2018).
  • $132,598 for repeat violations and willful violations (up from $126,749).
  • $13,260 per day for failure to abate (up from $12,675 last year).

It was reported that, by the first quarter of 2019, 76 additional OSHA inspectors were in training. During that same time, inspectors gave out the most citations for fall hazards. A Houston structural steel and precast concrete contractor was among those cited. The company was penalized $102,102 after OSHA inspectors “saw employees erecting steel and either walking or working on surfaces with an unprotected edge at heights of more than 15 feet high without guardrail, safety net or personal fall arrest systems, positioning device systems or fall restraint systems,” reports HR Dive.

Joining general fall protection safety and training shortcomings in OSHA’s most cited violations are:

  • Not properly communicating hazard warnings to employees.
  • Not meeting general safety requirements for scaffolding.
  • Not establishing or maintaining a proper respiratory protection program.
  • Not meeting minimum performance requirements for lockout/tagout procedures.
  • Not meeting ladder safety standards.
  • Not following safety standards for powered industrial trucks, including forklifts.
  • Failing to guard machinery properly.
  • Not meeting standards for appropriate personal protective equipment.

 

Staying on top of safety regulations can be challenging tasks, particularly as they relate to contract and temporary workers. Currently, OSHA holds staffing agencies and host employers jointly responsible for maintaining a safe work environment for these workers. Be sure you’re clear on the roles you and your staffing firm play. Have questions on training and overseeing workplace safety issues for contract and temporary workers? Feel free to ask us!