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OSHA Penalties Can Be Imposed on Per-Affected-Worker Basis

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Penalties for violating OSHA training requirements now can be imposed on a per-affected-worker basis, Textile Rental Services Association (TRSA) says. This includes bloodborne-pathogen and hazard-communication rules, which have often appeared atop the laundry industry’s annual citation record. Under the agency’s new practice, a facility with 100 such employees previously fined $1,000 for this type of violation could now be tagged for $100,000.
TRSA recently reported this development to its members along with news that the same multiplier will apply to rules that govern the provision of personal protective equipment. The new penalty formula emerged when an appeals court ruled against the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) in its suit against OSHA.
NAHB, along with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and National Association of Manufacturers, challenged OSHA’s ability to hold employers liable, on a per-employee basis, for failing to provide training and respirators. Unfortunately, their arguments stating that a violation is a violation, not multiple violations, did not hold sway with the appeals court, TRSA says.
In addition, OSHA plans to increase the average penalty for a serious violation from $1,000 to between $3,000 and $4,000. Using the new math enabled by the court, that means a single violation in a facility employing 100 people could well exceed $300,000.
 

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