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Adjustments for federal safety violations

Employers in Pennsylvania and the rest of the nation will discover that the price for the violation of federal laws regarding occupational health and safety has increased significantly since 1990. Beginning in August of 2016, the penalties are being increased by almost 80 percent.

Inflation is the primary reason for the significant increase. Until Congress passed a law last year, the last time the federal penalty adjustment for workplace violations occurred in 1990. Adjustments for inflation will now occur on a yearly basis.

The adjustment of price will raise the maximum penalty for a work safety and health violation from $7,000 to $12,471. If the violation is not rectified, the employer can expect to pay a daily penalty. This amount has also increased from $7,000 to $12,471. Any repeated violations or any business that has purposely tried to circumvent any federal work health and safety laws will have to pay a maximum penalty of $124,709 for each occurrence, an increase from $70,000.

Employers, except those that are part of low-risk industries, that have at least 11 employees must maintain records of serious injuries and illnesses that resulted from work duties. According to rules established in 2015 for all employers, all work-related fatalities should be reported with 8 hours and businesses have one day to report the loss of an eye, amputations or incidents that require the hospitalization of an employee.

Employers have an obligation to their employees to maintain safe working environments. If an employee suffers an injury in the course of performing work duties, a personal injury attorney may be able to help him or her file a claim for workers' compensation and possibly even file a lawsuit if proper measures were not taken by the employer to report accidents.

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