Workplace safety is critical to Florida’s businesses as a proactive risk management standard and, moreover, as a positive return-on-investment outcome. Even better, are next-step best practices.1 Simply put, it is less expensive in terms of a company’s time, talent, and treasure (…money) to prevent job-related injuries and illnesses, than it is to fix problems after they occur. Meaning… workers compensation claims, ongoing premiums, and the “Mod Rate”.2
One more ‘thing’ to bear in-mind is the regulatory role of the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration in monitoring and enforcing workplace health and safety conduct.3 In addition to the cost center matters involved with proactive risk management and ROI generation at the front-end of operational planning and process implementation, there is the prospect of substantial fines at the back-end following workplace injuries, illnesses, and OSHA violations.
And “substantial fines” actual plays out as substantial, ‘bottom line’ concerns. Which are about to increase. Substantially.
Upon Publication in the Federal Register4 – Currently Delayed Due to the Federal Government Partial Shutdown – the 2019 Penalties5 are:
|Type of Violation||Penalty|
|$13,260 per violation|
|Failure to Abate||$13,260 per day beyond the abatement date|
|Willful or Repeated||$132,598 per violation|
Those are some serious – and preventable – numbers. By investing attention to worksite (the definition of which is a moveable feast of regulation and case law) policies, practices, and procedures…and then actually implementing and monitoring them…companies can avoid situations giving rise to penalties in the first place. Cooperating with OSHA inspections and requests for information can also help.6
A helpful hint: Some workers compensation insurers provide onsite safety consultations as part of their range-of-services. From this writer’s experience, those consultants can help a company identify its safety risks and design solutions, check the effectiveness of those solutions, organize a safety committee, and develop an overall safety mindset. What is the harm in asking ‘your’ insurance carrier if they provide that service? And, if they do not, asking them ‘why not’?
3 https://www.osha.gov/. Florida’s OSHA offices can be found at https://www.osha.gov/oshdir/fl.html. When visiting OSHA’s website, consider registering for its no-charge “Quick Takes” newsletter. (This writer had done so.) Florida does not have an equivalent state plan (https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/), and is under OSHA’s jurisdiction regarding most private employees (covered) and federal and state employees (not covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970; https://www.osha.gov/laws-regs/oshact/completeoshact).
4 The public information release can be found at https://www.osha.gov/penalties/2019InflationAdjustments.pdf.
6 With the involvement of legal counsel.
To consult with an experienced business law lawyer today, call 855-780-9986
– For more information, call Philip N. Kabler of the Gainesville, FL office of Bogin, Munns & Munns at 352.332.7688, where he practices in the areas of business, banking, real estate, and equine law. He has taught business and real estate law courses at the University of Florida Levin College of Law and Warrington College of Business Administration. And is now the President-Elect of the Eighth Judicial Circuit Bar Association.
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NOTICE: The article above is not intended to serve as legal advice, and you should not rely on it as such. It is offered only as general information. You should consult with a duly licensed attorney regarding your Florida legal matter, as every situation is unique. Please know that merely reading this article, subscribing to this blog, or otherwise contacting Bogin, Munns & Munns does not establish an attorney-client relationship with our firm. Should you seek legal representation from Bogin, Munns & Munns, any such representation must first be agreed to by the firm and confirmed in a written agreement.