Many Cal-OSHA Compliance Coaches who help defend employers in the event of a Cal-OSHA fine have noticed an increase in both the amount of the fines and that the number of serious fines being assessed as well. This increase in the number of fines has more to do with Cal-OSHA’S aggressive enforcement than a lack of safety on the job-sites.
A recent California Labor Enforcement Task Force report determined that out of 794 businesses that were inspected in 2014, 86% of those businesses were not compliant. The result was 2,779 total violations, 30% of those vines were serious, and the total amount of the fines were 1.3 million dollars.
Two years later another sweep was performed, and the results were as follows. 813 businesses inspected, 93% of those businesses were not in compliance. There were 2,736 fines issued 15% of them were serious violations, and the total amount of the fines were $2.5 million dollars which was just about double the first sweep done in 2014.
These numbers tell a compelling story that reflect on the importance of California Employers need to get and stay in compliance with Cal-OSHA. As stated earlier it is not that employers are getting worse with regards to safety in the workplace but with 93% of employers in non-compliance along with the money that was received from the fines it is easy why there will be more and more of these sweeps.
Under new Cal-Osha guidelines penalties have increased. General, violations have risen from $7,000 to $12,675. Fines for willful and repeat violations also jumped for Cal/OSHA, from a maximum $70,000 to $127,254 in 2016. Federal OSHA has also increased the same fines from $70,000 to $129,336.
Because of all of this Cal-OSHA enforcement officers have been told that they must find and assess fines and the more serious fines that they can assess the better. In my practice of defending employers, I have seen this play out to the point of being ridicules. I have seen enforcement officers write up employers for tools that were not even in use and had been taken out of service by the employer.
One of the best ways to protect yourself from all of this and get compliant too is to have a compliance coach that will help you to get and stay compliant.
We have been helping employers to get compliant with Cal-OSHA for years, since 1997 to be exact. We not only know what the standards are but also know how they are being enforced. Since 1997 we have not lost a case, that does not mean that some of our clients have never had to pay a fine, but when you have been fined $40,000.00 and end up paying $1100.00 that is a good day.
When is the best time to get Cal-OSHA compliant? Today, tomorrow could be too late. One thing for sure in todays Cal-OSHA, compliance only counts before you get that knock on the door. Most enforcement officers will not give you enough time to purchase a program that you should have had but didn’t.