• Have Safety Will Travel

OSHA Fines to Increase Tenfold

Biden ordered a Covid-19 vaccine mandate on companies employing 100 or more people.

The mandate is supposed to be enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Now, Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s House has quietly tucked an OSHA enforcement mechanism into their $3.5 trillion “reconciliation” bill, passed it out of the Budget Committee, and sent it to the House floor.


Buried on page 168 of the House Democrats’ 2,465-page mega bill is a tenfold increase in fines for employers that “willfully,” “repeatedly,” or even seriously violate a section of labor law that deals with hazards, death, or serious physical harm to their employees.


The increased fines on employers could run as high as $70,000 for serious infractions, and $700,000 for willful or repeated violations—almost three-quarters of a million dollars for each fine. If enacted into law, tax enforcement could bankrupt non-compliant companies even more quickly than the $14,000 OSHA fine anticipated under Biden’s announced mandate.


To highlight exactly how little patience Biden and his minions have for those unwilling to be vaccinated, here is the current level of fines imposed by the federal agency.


There are worries that such fines could bankrupt companies, especially those already struggling with issues related to the pandemic.


The increased fines on employers could go as high as $70,000 for serious infractions, and $700,000 for wilful or repeated violations – a sum which can be applied to each instance of a violation rather than a total limit.


If enacted into law, the fines could rapidly bankrupt companies whose employees are not vaccinated, in effect forcing businesses to comply with Biden’s inoculation drive.


It comes after the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) published an emergency Covid-19 rule in the Federal Register this summer, which added Covid-19 to a list of possible workplace hazards for healthcare employment.


And while companies can fight penalties in court and get them reduced, especially if it is going to shutter the business, those cases take time and cost money to pursue. The better option is to let people choose whether to get the vaccine and then support the development and distribution of treatments.


Meanwhile, there have been fines already for failure to follow state and local COVID rules. One case involving a Los Angeles court is a good example.


An interpreter employed by the Los Angeles Superior Court died on Jan. 12, 2021 after contracting COVID-19 after an outbreak in a downtown courthouse. The next day, a lawyer for the interpreters’ union filed a complaint of unsafe work practices with the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, commonly known as Cal-OSHA. The complaint triggered Cal/OSHA to investigate, which is how many Cal/OSHA investigations begin.


On July 7, the agency notified the court of an intended $25,250 fine for workplace safety violations. A court spokeswoman told online legal publication Law 360 that the court disputes Cal/OSHA’s findings and will appeal. However, the matter is resolved, the case serves as an important reminder that the pandemic is not yet over and that employers face serious consequences for failing to follow the workplace safety rules still in place, both general regulations and COVID-19-specific regulations.


Cal/OSHA proposed a penalty of $5,000 for the court’s failure to immediately report the interpreter’s hospitalization for work-connected COVID-19. Employers are required to contact Cal/OSHA by email or phone no later than eight hours after the employer knows “or with diligent inquiry would have known” of “any serious injury or illness, or death, of an employee occurring in a place of employment or in connection with any employment,” whether for COVID-19 or any other workplace illness or injury. “Serious injury” includes any injury that “requires inpatient hospitalization for any period of time other than medical observation.”


If this is an example of the genius rules that are part of the $3.5 trillion monstrosity, I shudder to think what else may be in the budget plan.

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