Increased OSHA Fines for 2022

Amidst all the recent Supreme Court, OSHA, and CDC updates last week, the 2022 annual adjustments to OSHA civil penalties went into effect January 15th. It’s important to note that serious fines went from $13,653 per violation to $14,502 per violation. The maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations increased from $136,532 per violation to $145,027 per violation.

What constitutes a serious violation? According to OSHA, a citation is classified as serious if the inspector determines that an employer knew about the existence of a hazard. For example, an employer knew about a hazard if:

  • the employer saw the condition
  • an employee reported it
  • an employee was previously injured by the hazard and the company knew about the injury
  • a supervisor knew about the hazard

In addition, a serious violation must also have the substantial possibility for death or serious injury.

What types of things constitute a serious violation in a dental setting? Here are some examples from actual OSHA cases.

  • A Connecticut dental group was issued several serious violations of the Respiratory Protection Standard for not having a Respiratory Protection Program and not providing employees the required medical evaluation and respirator fit testing.
  • A multi-location orthodontic practice in Illinois was issued eleven serious violations, including:
    • not having a bloodborne pathogen exposure control plan and hazard communication program at either location
  • not requiring the use of appropriate gloves and personal protective equipment
  • not providing medical evaluation and follow-up to employees after an exposure incident
  • not making the Hepatitis B vaccination series available to employees
  • not training workers about chemical and bloodborne pathogen hazards and precautions

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