Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

March 28, 2019

MEMORANDUM FOR:
REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
THROUGH:
LOREN SWEATT
Acting Assistant Secretary
FROM:
PATRICK J. KAPUST, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
SUBJECT:
2019 Annual Adjustments to OSHA Civil Penalties
  1. Purpose.

    The penalty information included in this memorandum is intended to supplement the penalties and debt collection information found in Chapter 6 of the Field Operations Manual (FOM). Tables included in this Memorandum reflect penalty amounts for calendar year 2019, and correspond to penalty amounts found in OSHA Information Systems (OIS). This information will be updated annually to ensure access to current penalty information.

  2. Background.

    On November 2, 2015, Congress enacted the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, Public Law 114-74, sec. 701 (Inflation Adjustment Act), which further amended the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act of 1990 as previously amended by the 1996 Debt Collection Improvement Act (collectively, the "Prior Inflation Adjustment Act"), to improve the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and maintain their deterrent effect. The Inflation Adjustment Act required agencies to: (1) adjust the level of civil monetary penalties with an initial "catch-up" adjustment through an interim final rule (IFR); and (2) make subsequent annual adjustments for inflation, no later than January 15 of each year.

    The cost-of-living adjustment multiplier for 2019, based on the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) for the month of October 2018 (not seasonally adjusted), is 1.02522. To compute the 2019 annual adjustment, the Department multiplied the most recent penalty amount for each applicable penalty by the multiplier, 1.02522, and rounded to the nearest dollar.

    The adjustment factor of 1.02552 will remain consistent across the minimum and maximum penalties set forth in the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the FOM. Specific penalty amounts, as of January 23, 2019, are detailed in the charts.

  3. Minimum and Maximum Penalty Amounts.

    Table 1 summarizes the minimum and maximum amounts for proposed civil penalties:

    Table 1: Maximum and Minimum Amounts for Civil Penalties

    Type of Violation Penalty Minimum Penalty Maximum
    Serious [$947] per violation $13,260 per violation
    Other-Than-Serious $0 per violation $13,260 per violation
    Willful or Repeated $9,472 per violation $132,598 per violation
    Posting
    Requirements
    $0 per violation $13,260 per violation
    Failure to Abate N/A $13,260 per day unabated beyond the abatement date [generally limited to 30 days maximum]
  4. Gravity Based Penalty Amounts.

    The gravity of a violation is defined by the Gravity Based Penalty (GBP).

    • A high gravity violation is one with a GBP of $13,260.
    • A moderate gravity violation is one with the GBP ranging from [$7,577 to $11,366].
    • A low gravity violation is one with a GBP of [$5,683].

    For serious violations, the GBP shall be assigned on the basis of the following scale in Table 2:

    ➢ Severity + Probability = GBP

    Table 2: Serious Violations

    Severity Probability GBP Gravity OIS Code
    High Greater $13,260 High 10
    Medium Greater $11,366 Moderate 5
    Low Greater $9,472 Moderate 5
    High Lesser $9,472 Moderate 5
    Medium Lesser $7,577 Moderate 5
    Low Lesser $5,683 Moderate 1

    For other-than-serious violations, there is only minimal severity.

    Table 3: Other-Than-Serious Violations

    Severity Probability GBP
    Minimal Greater $1,000-$13,260
    Minimal Lesser 0
  5. Serious Willful Penalty Reductions.

    The reduction factors for size for serious willful violations shall be applied as shown in Tables 4 and 5:

    Table 4: Serious Willful Penalty Reductions

    Employees Percent reduction
    10 or fewer 80
    11-20 60
    21-30 50
    31-40 40
    41-50 30
    51-100 20
    101-250 10
    251 or more 0

    ➢ The reduction factor for history shall be applied.
    ➢ The proposed penatly shall then be determined from Table 5.

    Table 5: Penalties to be Proposed for Serious Willful Violations

    Total percent reduction for size and/or history High Gravity Moderate Gravity Low Gravity
    0% $132,598 $113,652 $94,715
    10% $119,338 $102,287 $85,244
    20% $106,078 $90,922 $75,772
    30% $92,818 $79,556 $66,301
    40% $79,558 $68,190 $56,829
    50% $66,299 $56,837 $47,358
    60% $53,040 $45,461 $37,886
    70% [$39,780] $34,096 $28,414
    80% $26,519 $22,730 $18,944
    90% [$13,260] $11,366 [$9,472]

    If you have any questions regarding the above, please contact Arthur Buchanan in the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-1850.

     

    [Corrected 4/2/2019]

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