The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration's
(OSHA's) field offices enforce workplace regulations in conjunction
with policies and procedures set out in OSHA Directive CPL
02-00-148, OSHA's Field Operations Manual (FOM), published
in November 2009. According to OSHA, the FOM establishes OSHA
compliance safety and health officers' responsibilities for
inspecting work sites. More specifically, the FOM includes
instructions for determining penalty reductions companies may
qualify for to reduce fines the agency imposes after job-site
OSHA recently revised the FOM's penalty reduction section, and
the changes may significantly affect you.
The maximum penalty OSHA may impose on an employer under its
statutory authority for a serious violation is $7,000. The FOM
gives OSHA field personnel authority to reduce fines based on an
employer's history of violations, company size and good faith.
Implementation of the penalty-reduction policy has prompted some
organizations to argue it results in fines that are too low and
ineffective. The revised FOM and pending legislative efforts (H.R.
2067, Protecting America's Workers Act) are attempts to increase
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