The Indiana Department of Labor has revised the required Indiana Safety and Health Protection on the Job workplace posting. The workplace posting includes a new section, “Proposed Penalties in Conjunction with a Worker Fatality.” The new section reflects changes made by a recent amendment of the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Act (IOSHA) increasing penalty minimums and maximums for knowing violations of the Act where such violation involves a worker fatality.
As amended, the Act provides that:
- an employer who knowingly violates the Act, where such violation cannot reasonably be determined to have contributed to an employee fatality, shall be assessed a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 for each violation and may be assessed a penalty of up to $70,000 for each violation
- an employer who knowingly violates the Act, where such violation can reasonably be determined to have contributed to an employee fatality, shall be assessed a civil penalty of not less than $9,472 for each violation and may be assessed a penalty of up to $132,598 for each violation
Indiana IOSHA Penalties Still Weaker Than Federal OSHA Penalties
The fatality-related penalty notwithstanding, Indiana’s penalties for occupational safety and health violations are far less than the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) penalties for comparable violations. Indiana’s maximum penalty for Non-serious, Serious, Failure to Correct and Posting violations is $7,000. Indiana’s maximum penalty for Repeat violations is $70,000. OSHA’s maximum penalty for Serious, Other-than-Serious, Failure to Abate and Posting violations is $13,260. OSHA’s maximum penalty for willful or repeated violations is $132,598, regardless of whether there is a fatality.
Indiana’s penalty levels are controversial. Indiana is a “State Plan” state that operates its own safety and health program with the approval of OSHA. OSHA requires State Plans to adopt minimum and maximum penalty levels that are “at least as effective” as OSHA’s. However, Indiana is one of several State Plan states that have resisted adopting the federal penalty structure ever since OSHA began adjusting penalties for inflation on an annual basis beginning in 2016. With the exception of fatality-involved violations, Indiana has maintained the same $7,000/$70,000 structure that OSHA had in place for 25 years prior to adjusting penalties for inflation.
Employers to Post Notice of Penalties for Fatality-Involved Knowing Violations
The revised Indiana Safety and Health Protection on the Job workplace posting describes the penalty minimums and maximums for the various classifications of violations of the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Act, including those involving a worker fatality. Importantly, the posting also describes employers’ and employees’ rights, responsibilities and protections. Indiana employers who already have an Indiana All-On-One Poster can stay on top of posting compliance using the 2019 Indiana “Safety and Health Protection on the Job” Peel ‘N Post sticker. New customers are invited to purchase a new Indiana All-On-One Poster or Indiana Mobile Poster Pak and then experience the ease of using sticker updates the next time the state has a posting change.