OSHA Gets its Annual Enhancement of “Sticks” as it Prepares for a Busy 2023 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is charged with facilitating safe working conditions in workplaces across the United States. While OSHA employs plenty of “carrots” to entice employers to do the right thing, there is no doubt that the “sticks” used by OSHA catch more attention. Which is why it was big news on January 13, 2023, when the Department of Labor (DOL) announced its annual adjusted penalties for violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

The new adjusted penalties for OSHA violations in 2023 (and the 2022 rate) are below:

 Violation  2022  2023
 Other than Serious
(per violation)
 $14,502  $15,625
 Repeat and Willful
(per violation)
 $145,027  $156,259

Additionally, on January 26, 2023, OSHA issued a new guidance memorandum. The memorandum allows Regional and Area Offices to cite certain types of violations as “instance-by-instance” if they are deemed “high-gravity” violations. Falls, trenching, machine guarding, respiratory protection, permit required confined spaces, lockout tagout, and other-than-serious violations of OSHA standards specific to recordkeeping are all subject to the “instance-by-instance” policy.

This is a departure from the current policy, which was limited to willful-egregious citations being subject to the “instance-by-instance” policy. The change may subject employers to more potential violations for each instance of non-compliance. This new policy will become effective on March 27, 2023, and employers should ensure they have a plan in place to comply with OSHA standards and its newly enhanced “sticks.”

For more information on OSHA’s adjusted penalties for 2023, please contact Adam W. Childers or another member of the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice Group.

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