The NAHB reports that penalties for non-compliance assessed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are slated to rise next month for the first time in 25 years. But OSHA is not the only federal agency that plans to increase its fines.
Last November, President Obama signed into law the Inflation Adjustment Act to ensure federal agencies regularly update the monetary levels of civil penalties to keep pace with inflation. The act required these agencies to raise their penalties by Aug. 1 based on guidance issued by the White House Office of Management and Budget, which looked at inflation rates and other factors affecting costs before advising the agencies.
The maximum amount civil penalties can increase is 150% of the prior amount – but moving forward, these agencies must make this adjustment annually and base it on the current Consumer Price Index.
That means builders need to pay even closer attention to how they’re following the letter of the law. Here’s two more examples:
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s maximum civil penalty for violating the Clean Water Act’s Stormwater permitting requirements will increase to a maximum of $51,570 per violation from a prior maximum civil penalty of $37,500 per violation – an increase of nearly 40%.
- Meanwhile, the Fish and Wildlife Service has set its maximum civil penalty for violating the Endangered Species Act’s “take” prohibition increases from $25,000 to $49,467 per violation: an increase of 98%.