OSHA Penalties to Increase by More Than Half in 2016

medical facility

Congress has recently signed the 2016 federal budget deal that, among other provisions, involves an increase of OSHA penalties effective August 1, 2016. Should your medical facility worry? What does it mean and how do you get prepared? It's one of our goals at BWS, Inc. to keep you up to date on all new developments in the medical waste removal and employee safety industries. Here is a quick overview we've put together to help you understand the implications of this OSHA change for your facility.

Why Are OSHA Penalties Increasing?

Fines and penalties, whether they are issued by OSHA or another government agency, are supposed to increase gradually in response to the changing Consumer Price Index (CPI). The CPI is essentially a measurement of how much consumers are paying for a “representative basket of goods and services.” As you can imagine, people are currently paying more for food, gas and almost everything else than 10-15 years ago. The current OSHA penalties have been the same since 1990, so now the government is taking an opportunity to catch up.

How Much Will OSHA Penalties Increase?

Fifteen years is a lot of catching up to do! According to the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, OSHA is authorized to increase penalties by up to 150%. However, the more realistic figure everyone is talking about after reviewing the most recent CPI is 80% which more or less reflects the pricing difference between 1990 and 2015. This will be the initial catch-up effort to cover the past 15 years of uncollected fines. After that, OSHA is going to increase penalties annually in accordance with the CPI change. This won't have that much of an impact, but it means that OSHA penalties will continue to grow.

Should My Facility Worry?

I you have been fined by OSHA in the past, you should definitely worry. The maximum penalty for repeat or willful violation is about to increase from $70,000 to over $124,000! This is a major financial hit many organizations simply can't afford to take. Even if you have never been cited by OSHA, now is a good time to review whether your facility meets all occupational safety standards.

What Can I do to Avoid OSHA Penalties?

OSHA has a large body of occupational safety standards all employers have to follow. And as a medical facility, your workplace is much more hazardous than most other workplaces. A lot of it has to do with regulated medical waste and potential exposure to bloodborne pathogens and other potentially harmful substances. To minimize this exposure and keep your employees safe, make sure you:

And if you have other questions about regulated medical waste handling or OSHA compliance, we'll be happy to provide more resources. Call, email or contact us online with any questions!

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Tomicka Jackson-George, D.M.D.

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Louis Sachs, D.D.S.

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Kate Blair English

“Great option for healthcare waste management. BWS is an independent owned professional organization that is built on integrity and trust. There is no other company in the region that I'd recommend more. Most others say the right things the folks at BWS do the right thing. I'll continue to recommend them.”

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We are a medical practice in a new location and needed hazardous waste removal services. We have been so pleased with the level of service and professionalism on both the admin and field work end of BWS services, and their pricing is fair and flexible. We would highly recommend them to any medical practice in need of these services.

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Keith Roberts, Biomatrix Specialty Pharmacy

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Mireia Pedragosa Marin, Synergy Research

They were responsive and quickly start services. They were also great at answering all my questions and updating on when services would start.

Rebecca Crouse, Randolph Macon Academy

We used BWS for sharps disposal at a doctor's office. I saw their bright truck in the parking lot at work which lead me to call for a quote. They responded to my inquiry quickly and thoroughly, answering all my questions. They gave me pricing that was very reasonable, and lower than many companies I checked. They were a pleasure to communicate with via phone and email, no phone tag! The truck arrived the day and time we planned. The driver was very personable and easy to communicate with. The people I interacted with seem to understand the value of customer service. I would highly recommend them. They will take care of you.

Melissa C, Patriot Chiropractic

Excellent, professional service and very reasonable price on medical waste removal. Danielle was fantastic to work with - thanks Danielle!

Dr. Rosario Ignacio

Reliable and affordable

Dr. Thomas Lutz, Odenton Family Dentistry

I've used BWS for several years now. Their service is great and their fees are very reasonable, making BWS a great value in hazardous waste removal. Over the 20+ years that I have used them the scope of their services has increased as well as making documentation of their service easier to use!

Dr. Louis Sachs, DDS

I ran a dental charity for many years, organizing huge clinics to treat those in need. BWS donated their waste disposal services for every clinic for many years, and they continue to do so to this day. This is always a huge job, and they are always reliable, dedicated, and fun to work with. They know what it means to give back.

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