In 2012, OSHA made modest revisions to its policy for calculating proposed monetary penalties. OSHA has not required, however, the OSHA State Plan States to adopt this policy. There is wide disparity among the States on proposed penalties for serious, repeat and willful violations. For example, in 2013 the average proposed penalty in Maryland (a State Plan OSHA) for a serious violation was $685, compared to $1,916 in Pennsylvania (Federal OSHA). It has been three years since OSHA made revisions to its penalty policy, but it only applies in about half of the States. In order for OSHA State Plans to be “at least as effective,” Federal OSHA should require them to adopt the March 2012 Administration Penalty Policy as the minimum acceptable standard. In those instances where State Plans have more robust penalty policies than Federal OSHA, Federal OSHA should evaluate the possibility adopting them.
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