Two recent developments have significantly increased the consequences of an OSHA inspection.
First, OSHA civil penalties will be adjusted upward, effective August 1, 2016, to keep pace with inflation. OSHA’s top penalty, which has not changed since 1990, will increase from $7,000 to $12,471, a nearly 80% increase. State plan states are required to follow suit. OSHA penalties are still a fraction of the $53,907 penalty that EPA can assess for some environmental violations.
Second, OSHA’s new Safety Data Sheet (SDS) requirements have been in effect since June 1, 2016. Revised SDSs for products containing hazardous chemicals used in the funeral home should now be on hand, reviewed, and communicated to employees so that all workers understand the new pictographs and hazard warmings. For details, see the NFDA Guide to Selected OSHA Standards for Funeral Homes.
There is more to come. In June, Dr. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, announced that, before the end of the year, OSHA will issue health and safety guidelines. Can revised permissible exposure limits be far behind? Stay tuned.