OSHA Publishes Maximum Fines for 2019 and Top Violations of 2018

Filed in Safety by on January 24, 2019 13 Comments

OSHA published to the Federal Register Wednesday its maximum fines for jobsite violations for 2019, which go into effect for citations beginning today.

Since 2016, OSHA has indexed its annual fine increases to inflation, specifically, the Consumer Price Index. This year’s fine increases reflect a modest increase in consumer inflation.

Type of Violation Current Maximum Fine New Maximum Fine (Jan. 24, 2019)
Posting Requirements
$12,934 per violation $13,260 per violation
Willful or Repeated $129,336 per violation   $132,598 per violation  
Failure to Abate $12,934 per day $13,260 per day beyond the abatement date

Willful violations also carry a minimum fine of $9,472, up from $9,239 last year.

OSHA also recently published its list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites. Some are specific to the construction industry and some are for general industry, which can still be cited on home building sites.

  1. Fall protection, construction (29 CFR 1926.501)
  2. Hazard communication standard, general industry (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  3. Scaffolding, general requirements, construction (29 CFR 1926.451)
  4. Respiratory protection, general industry (29 CFR 1910.134)
  5. Control of hazardous energy (lockout/tagout), general industry (29 CFR 1910.147)
  6. Ladders, construction (29 CFR 1926.1053)
  7. Powered industrial trucks, general industry (29 CFR 1910.178)
  8. Fall protection – training requirements (29 CFR 1926.503)
  9. Machinery and machine guarding, general requirements (29 CFR 1910.212)
  10. Eye and face protection (29 CFR 1926.102)
builders mutual


Comments (13)

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  1. Richard White says:

    I don’t recall being asked to approve these increases.

  2. Larry Dudley says:


  3. Joe Thompson says:

    This is the most invasive regulatory agency in America. With no actual experience these agents are sent out in the field with the knowledge that without fines they will not have jobs so all of the charges they administer have little or no actual impact on safety. Also with no due process the fines are levied without any recourse. As a former construction owner I had the unfortunate opportunity to meet one of these agents who fined my company 1200$ for having an employee cutting the metal bands off the roof trusses we were getting ready to install. Across the street there were two roofers on an 8/12 roof pitch with no fall protection that she fined 500$. Later she reduced the fine to 50$ because they were illegal aliens and didn’t understand the rules.

  4. Chris Rogers says:

    Osha inspectors are your best friend until you receive a certified piece of mail with a $10000 fine. They will say that they were overruled in the office and is what the fine will be. We fight with our employees every day about safety and fall protection. You can go to any housing jobsite and find workers not doing things exactly per OSHA standards. It is impossible to create an anchor point without putting yourself in some danger and at that point it could never hold 5,000 pounds. We were find $5,000 for a rope that was “discolored”. It was the correct rope, not some little 3/8″ one and being used correctly. How about we test the rope? We have warned guys, sent guys home, done write ups, & tried bonuses. If we fired them, there would be no one left to build the 650 houses that we constructed last year. Nothing works to have employees (framers) be 100% compliant. I get it, I came from the field. The only way I see guys being 100% compliant is to START FINING THE EMPLOEES. But please don’t put us out of business with some repeat fine.

  5. Unfortunately, these are fines for the Licensed and Bonded contractors, trying to do what is right. The unregistered contractor (who typically breaks all of these rules WILLFULLY) only gets a slap on the wrist for not having a license or a work-mans comp account. They pay the fine and continue working because its less costly for them to do so.

    I propose that any time a NON licensed contractor is caught, they are penalized all of the MAXIMUM possible fee of about $160,000.

    • RIC SIRLOUIS says:

      I agree with you whole-heartedly Clint! However, consider that theses are basically “law-breakers” to start with. They will never pay the fine, they will simply abandon / bankrupt that company, move down the road a piece, create a new law-breaking company and dodge the law again. (meanwhile, thumbing their nose at OSHA, local authorities, and law abiding contractors)

  6. Dan says:

    Many years ago an inspector came to a home were I was building a screen room. He spent 2.5 hours inspecting and talking to my two helpers that I had to pay while he dug and dug for a violation. He found one….inside my van under my seat was an old extension cord I borrowed from my father the previous week for a need at my home since all the approved cords were on the job site. I got cited because this old cord’s little piece of cardboard had fallen off the male end. Now, I carry a gun on my hip on my job sites and while I would never point a gun or harm one of these vermin, it would do a good job of intimidating them.

  7. Chuck Murphy says:

    You can attend all the seminars you want on how to stay compliant but as long as you have employees you will have violations and a nice fine and not a damn thing we can do about it

  8. H C crowell says:

    I started working as a construction man in 1046. There were various injuries but never any that would take more than a job installed bandage except one time when a careless carpenter was cut with a Skillsaw on the leg, we rushed him to the hospital for some stitches and the next day he was back at his $2.50 an hour job.
    I am still active on the job and still have seen very few accidents until OSHA started adding so many unacceptable safety requirements that no working man or woman can figure how to be productive and still work around all the “safety lines, stages” and other slowdown things. Since these have been added the injury factor seems to have increased, is it because the lawyers have found more ways to exploit these new rules?

  9. B says:

    I had an inspection a couple of years ago. I had one employee at the time. They cited me for several items one being a bench grinder that was not being used any longer. Because it was plugged into the wall they fined me over $5000. They reduced it to $2,400 after I met with them. The area OSHA guy told me that if an inspector shows up to a job site that they would find something to fine you for.
    They are self funded so the fines pay their salaries. No fines no pay check. Don’t think that because you are a small company with only one employee that they won’t pay you a visit.

  10. Gary Wilson says:

    OSHA is not self funded, it all goes to Washington.
    No employers want their employees to get hurt much less killed.

    Fatalities really affect owners, employees working and families.

  11. Joe zeppetelli says:

    The challenge repeat,repeat and repeat ,have your tool box talk every morning,make it constucted,and go over the days task at hand. It will come around,I’ve seen it and live it now. I’m in the business some 28 years,when I started if I’d ask for a dusk mask while cutting concrete I’d have my layoff check by 230. Today if I don’t have it on I will have it by 230. So as you teach the new younger employees make it the norm,

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