South Carolina Governor Sues OSHA

South Carolina Governor Sues OSHA

The lawsuit lists South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing & Regulation as the plaintiffs.

The Governor of South Carolina is suing OSHA over the requirement for the state's plan to increase civil penalties.

States with state OSHA plans are required by OSHA to have penalties “at least as effective” as federal penalties, according to OSHA. The lawsuit, filed on August 8, says that on January 14, OSHA updated its 2022 Annual Adjustments to OSHA Civil Penalties to reflect an increase in civil penalties.

This lawsuit challenges this year’s adjustment requirement and asks for the mandate to be “declare[d] unlawful,” according to a press release.

“South Carolina’s penalties are set by statute, and the General Assembly did not amend that statute before it adjourned its regular session in 2022,” according to the lawsuit, which lists South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (LLR) as the plaintiffs.

In April 2022, OSHA announced it was proposing to reconsider or revoke Arizona’s state plan because the state allegedly did not meet federal penalty levels and standards. “[Governor McMaster’s] lawsuit seeks to prohibit OSHA from taking the same or similar action against South Carolina’s state plan,” according to the press release. McMaster and LLR also filed a motion for a preliminary injunction.

The 2022 adjustment raised the maximum penalty for serious and other than serious violations from $13,653 to $14,502, and willful or repeated violations from $136,532 to $145,027, according to a trade release.

Currently, the federal penalty amounts are:

  • $1,036 minimum, $14,502 maximum for each serious violation
  • $0 minimum, $14,502 maximum for each other-than-serious violation
  • $10,360 minimum, $145,027 maximum for each willful or repeated violation
  • $0 minimum, $14,502 maximum for each posting requirement violation
  • $14,502 maximum for each day failure to abate violations are not abated after a period of time

About the Author

Alex Saurman is the Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety.

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