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Retaliation rules on reporting injuries into effect August 10

Included in the new electronic reporting of workplace injuries and illnesses rule is the requirement that employers must establish "a reasonable procedure" for employees to report work-related injuries and illnesses promptly and accurately. Effective August 10, the rule prohibits employers from deterring or discouraging a reasonable employee from accurately reporting a workplace injury or illness. The rule also prohibits any retaliation for reporting an injury or illness. Under this new reporting standard, employer policies that request or require post-accident drug or alcohol testing may now face scrutiny by OSHA because, the agency claims, post-incident testing deters injury reporting.

Fine increases start August 1 and employers may also face retroactive fines

Starting August 1, penalties will increase to reflect the change in the consumer price index since the last pre-1996 update. Maximum fines can increase up to 78%, meaning that the existing $70,000 cap for repeat and willful violations could increase to $124,709, while the top fines for serious and other-than-serious violations could rise to $12,471 from the current $7,000 maximum. Employers inspected before the Aug. 1 effective date, but receiving citations after that date, will be subject to the higher penalties. It can take up to six months after the start of an inspection to issue citations and propose penalties, so employers being investigated as far back as Feb. 1 could face the higher fines.

Annual campaign launched to help outdoor workers beat the heat

In launching the campaign, a representative noted that new workers who have not been acclimated to the heat are particularly vulnerable and the majority of recent heat-related deaths investigated by the agency involved workers who were on the job for three days or less. The campaign informs employers and employees about the dangers of working in hot weather, includes illustrations of heat exhaustion and heat stroke, provides safety tips and training materials, and links to an updated safety phone app. In 2014, heat-related illnesses sickened more than 2,600 workers and caused 18 fatalities.

New pilot program targeting severe violators of whistleblower rights launched in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa

The Whistleblower-Severe Violator Enforcement Program will focus on employers that engage in egregious behavior and blatant retaliation against workers who report unsafe working conditions and violations of the law. Criteria for inclusion on the Whistleblower-Severe Violator Enforcement Program log will include:

After three years, a company may petition the regional administrator for a follow-up visit and removal from the program.

New fact sheet on lightning

Lightning is a frequently overlooked occupational hazard, according to a new fact sheet issued jointly with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). It provides information about lightning hazards, what should be included in emergency action plans, and protective measures that can be taken to ensure workers' safety.

Recent fines and awards




New York




Detailed descriptions of the citations above and other OSHA citations can be found here.