VOSH Penalty Increases

Annual Increase in Maximum VOSH Statutory Penalties Per CPI-U Takes Effect August 1, 2019

Background

The Department of Labor and Industry (DOLI) operates the Virginia State Plan for Occupational Safety and Health (VOSH) and is required by federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) laws and regulations to maintain maximum penalties that are “at least as effective” as those of federal OSHA.

Federal OSHA maximum statutory penalties were last increased in 1990, and the VOSH program followed suit in 1991.  In the succeeding 25 years, the consumer price index (CPI) (i.e. inflation) had increased 78.15%.

Congress passed the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015 which tied OSHA penalties to the CPI-Urban (CPI-U) and raised OSHA maximum penalties by 78.15%.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2016/07/01/2016-15378/department-of-labor-federal-civil-penalties-inflation-adjustment-act-catch-up-adjustments

Virginia Statutory Change

The Department proposed HB 1883 and companion bill SB 1542 to increase the maximum statutory VOSH civil penalties by 78.15%.  Virginia’s legislation mirrors the 2015 increase in OSHA penalties.  The legislation passed both houses of the General Assembly by unanimous vote and was signed into law.  The legislative history can be viewed at:

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+sum+HB1883

The statute also requires the Commissioner of Labor and Industry to annually increase the maximum civil penalty amounts, starting August 1, 2018, by an amount that reflects the percentage increase, if any, in the Consumer Price Index – Urban (CPI-U) from the previous calendar year.

The CPI-U increased 1.01764% in 2019 so the VOSH maximum penalties are being increased by that percentage:

Effective Date

The new maximum penalty levels apply to VOSH inspections opened on or after August 1, 2020.  Penalties for inspections opened July 31, 2020 or earlier will be issued under the old maximum penalty levels.

https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2020/01/15/2020-00486/department-of-labor-federal-civil-penalties-inflation-adjustment-act-annual-adjustments-for-2020

New Statutory Maximum Penalties

Serious and Other-than-serious               From $13,047 to $13,277

Willful and Repeat                                      From $130,463 to $132,764

Failure-to-Abate                                          From $13,047 per day to $13,277 per day