Now is the time for landscapers to implement or improve their safety and health programs, because the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is raising its violation penalties.
By August, OSHA fines could increase by as much as 80 percent. The increases will result from a congressional budget agreement allowing OSHA to adjust penalty amounts to account for inflation over the past 25 years.
The average fine for a serious violation is $1,972 right now, according to the AFL-CIO. The new adjusted average would be $3,549. OSHA’s median penalty for a worker death is $5,050 currently, but that will rise to $9,090.
“It’s progress,” said Peg Seminario, who directs workplace-safety policy for unions affiliated with the AFL-CIO, in an interview with . “It’s bringing the penalties for worker-safety violations up to date. Increasing OSHA penalties has been considered and discussed, but never implemented, during budget negotiations in past years. Increased penalties will be particularly important where there are widespread serious or willful violations.”
The National Association of Landscape Professionals’ safety adviser, Sam Steel, offers a three-step process for landscapers on how to create an effective safety and health program:
Step 1 – Planning
Step 2 – Implementing
Step 3 – Evaluation