Senator Rick Jones (R-Grand Ledge) introduced Senate Bill 479, which would get Michigan in compliance with Federal law relating to occupational safety and health penalties.
Under federal law, state plans like the Michigan Occupational Safety and Health Administration (MIOSHA) must adopt penalty levels that are at least as effective as the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Changes in federal law in November 2015 requiring federal agencies to adjust their civil penalties to account for inflation have necessitated a change in MIOSHA penalties to ensure that they are as effective as federal law.
To achieve compliance with federal law and preserve Michigan’s ability to operate a state plan, SB 479 would increase civil penalties from $7,000 to $12,675 for an individual violation or failure to abate and from $70,000 to $126,749 for willful and repeated violations. Going forward, these penalty levels would be adjusted annually to account for inflation as required by federal law.
MIOSHA penalties have not been adjusted since 1990, so this change represents an increase of 78 percent from current penalty levels. Please note that these are maximum penalties and Agency staff has the ability to reduce penalties based on a number of factors including the severity of the violation, the probability of injury, the employer’s safety history and good faith efforts toward compliance.
SB 479 has been referred to the Senate Commerce Committee. The Legislature is completing its Spring legislative session this week so we don’t expect the bill to come up for action before this fall. In the meantime, we’ll be working with the Snyder Administration, bill sponsor Senator Jones and Commerce Committee Chairman Wayne Schmidt (R-Traverse City) to craft alternative language that will allow for penalties to revert back if Congress and the Trump Administration choose to rollback this requirement.