Amendment Would Bar Fines for First-Time Paperwork Violations

The U.S. Senate yesterday cleared the way for a final vote later this week to increase the minimum wage. Whether the bill passes "clean" or with amendments remains to be seen; one amendment would bar federal agencies from imposing civil fines against small businesses for first-time violations of rules that require collection of information, such as OSHA's recordkeeping standard. Sen. David Vitter, D-La., sponsored the amendment with support from Sen. George Voinovich, D-Ohio, and Vitter described it as a needed break for his constituents, some of whom were hit hard by hurricanes in 2005.

The amendment says an agency could still impose a fine if its head determines the violation presents a danger to public health or safety, has the potential to cause serious harm to the public interest, involves tax collection, or the violation remains uncorrected six months after the small business received notification of the violation in writing from the agency. Even if the violation endangers public health or safety, however, the amendment says no fine is possible if that violation is fixed within 24 hours after notification.

Speaking on the Senate floor Jan. 24, Vitter called his amendment "very simple, very straightforward, very basic, but also very important. It is to reduce, in a meaningful way, the excessive paperwork burden facing small businesses.... Nobody here--myself included--is arguing that we don't need a legitimate layer of regulation to protect and promote health and safety, the environment, worker safety, et cetera," Vitter added. "That is not what we are talking about. What we are talking about today is an amendment I offer on the minimum wage bill which includes provisions I introduced separately as the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2007.... This is not only a reasonable thing to do, it is long overdue considering the enormous compliance costs I alluded to before--$7,600 per worker for a small business of 20 employees or less--just to take care of federal requirements."

Download Center

HTML - No Current Item Deck
  • Safety Management Software - Free Demo

    IndustrySafe Safety Software’s comprehensive suite of modules help organizations to record and manage incidents, inspections, hazards, behavior based safety observations, and much more. Improve safety with an easy to use tool for tracking, notifying and reporting on key safety data.

  • Create Flexible Safety Dashboards

    IndustrySafe’s Dashboard Module allows organizations allows you to easily create and view safety KPIs to help you make informed business decisions. Our best of breed default indicators can also save you valuable time and effort in monitoring safety metrics.

  • Schedule and Record Observations

    IndustrySafe's Observations module allows managers, supervisors, and employees to conduct observations on employees involved in safety critical behavior. IndustrySafe’s pre-built BBS checklists may be used as is, or can be customized to better suit the needs of your organization.

  • Why Is Near Miss Reporting Important?

    A near miss is an accident that's waiting to happen. Learn how to investigate these close calls and prevent more serious incidents from occurring in the future.

  • Get the Ultimate Guide to Safety Training

    When it comes to safety training, no matter the industry, there are always questions regarding requirements and certifications. We’ve put together a guide on key safety training topics, requirements for certifications, and answers to common FAQs.

  • Industry Safe
comments powered by Disqus

OH&S Digital Edition

  • OHS Magazine Digital Edition - May 2019

    May 2019

    Featuring:

    • RESPIRATORY PROTECTION
      Why Pick a PAPR? 
    • FIRE SAFETY TRAINING
      Fire Safety: Plan, Prevent, Train, Recover
    • PROTECTIVE APPAREL
      The Truth About Heat Stress and FRC
    • AIHCE EXP 2019 PREVIEW
      Underestimated No More
    View This Issue