By James L. Curtis and Patrick D. Joyce

iStock_000065158991_Full.jpgAs we mentioned in our previous blog, the bipartisan budget signed by President Obama on November 2, 2015 contains provisions that will allow OSHA to raise maximum penalties for the first time in 25 years.

The maximum initial “catch up adjustment” will be based on the difference between the October 2015 Consumer Price Index (CPI) and the October 1990 CPI. The October 2015 CPI was released yesterday, November 17, 2015, and came in at 237.838.  Based on the October 1990 CPI of 133.500, the maximum catch up adjustment will be approximately 78.16% and the new maximum penalties could be:

  • Other than Serious violations: $12,471
  • Serious violations: $12,471
  • Willful violations: $124,709
  • Repeat violations: $124,709

As we previously mentioned, OSHA has the option to choose a lower catch up adjustment than the maximum allowable, but based on comments by Dr. Michaels, it is unlikely OSHA will implement anything but the maximum allowable catch up adjustment.