Employers in South Carolina and the rest of the country can be fined if they fail to adhere to federal workplace standards. After overhauling its penalty structure, the United States Occupation Safety and Health Administration saw the average fine amounts assessed for serious workplace violations increase in 2016.
The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 compelled multiple federal agencies, including OSHA, to review their civil monetary penalties. Included in the statute was the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015, which amended the 1990 version of the law so that all of the agencies included in the statute would be required to update their penalties. Effective August 1, 2016, OSHA fines were raised by up to 78 percent.
According to OSHA information that was presented in early April 2017 at an American Bar Association conference, the average penalty for serious violations was $5,087 from August 2, 2016 to December 31, 2016, an increase from $3,285 during the same period in the previous year. For large employers, or those with an excess of 250 employees, the fines were substantial as the average penalties for serious violations rose to $10,065 from $5,915.
According to OSHA, there was also an increase in the number of reports employers filed last year in accordance with the agency’s severe injury reporting regulation. The rule requires that all workplace fatalities have to be reported no more than eight hours after the death or the hospitalization of any one employee and incidences of eye loss or amputation have to be reported within 24 hours.
Workers who sustain injuries as a result of performing their job duties may receive workers’ compensation. A personal injury attorney may file a complaint with OSHA on behalf of a client if work conditions that violated federal law resulted in an injury.