Department of Labor Announces Enforcement Guidance Changes

The Power of OSHA to Hold Employers Accountable

It’s no secret that workplace safety is a priority for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). But how does OSHA hold employers accountable for violations? Recently, OSHA issued new enforcement guidance to target employers who put profit over safety and save lives. Let’s take a closer look at how OSHA holds violators accountable.

How is OSHA Enforcing Compliance?

The most effective way that OSHA enforces compliance is by issuing citations and fines to businesses that violate safety regulations. These fines can range from several hundred dollars to tens of thousands depending on the severity of the violations. In addition, if an employer fails to correct their violations in the time allotted, they can face additional fines or even criminal charges. This reinforces the importance of taking all necessary steps to ensure compliance with all applicable safety regulations.

In addition to fines and penalties, employers are also required to take corrective action when they are found in violation of an OSHA regulation. This includes making any necessary changes to equipment or processes and providing training on proper work practices to prevent future injuries or illness due to unsafe working conditions.   On Jan 26, 2023, the US Department of Labor announced that OSHA has issued new enforcement guidance to make its penalties more effective in stopping employers from repeatedly exposing workers to life-threating hazards or failing to comply with certain workplace safety and health requirements.   The guidelines will seek to hold employers to greater account for safety and health failures.

What Does this Mean for Employers?

It is important for employers to understand that failing to comply with safety regulations can have serious consequences, both financially and legally. Fines from OSHA can be costly, but even more importantly, failing to comply can lead to serious injury or death for employees who are exposed to unsafe working conditions. By understanding their obligations under the law and taking steps to ensure compliance, employers can avoid costly penalties, create a safe work environment for their employees, and protect themselves from potential liability if an employee were injured on the job due to negligence or carelessness. 

At the end of the day, it is up to employers—not just OSHA—to ensure a safe work environment for their employees. By following all applicable laws and regulations set forth by OSHA as well as taking proactive measures such as conducting regular safety inspections and providing training on proper work practices, employers can help ensure that their workplace remains safe for everyone involved. Doing so will not only protect your business from potentially costly penalties but also make sure your employees stay safe while on the job. Taking all necessary steps now will go a long way towards preventing future accidents in the workplace. 

For more information, please visit the OSHA site below:  

Department of Labor announces enforcement guidance changes to save lives, target employers who put profit over safety | Occupational Safety and Health Administration (osha.gov)