What to know: North Carolina’s new OSHA violations and fines

What's in the state's new law and what does it mean for all US employers?

5 minutes

Two workers wearing hard hats and safety vests stand in an empty warehouse discussing something in the distance

Starting October 1, 2023 the Current Operations Appropriations Act of 2022 will be giving OSHA extended powers in the state. OSHA will now be able to carry out more lengthy inspections and apply heavier penalties on employers across North Carolina. Learn what the new laws cover and how your organization can stay compliant as health and safety regulations change.

What's changing in North Carolina?

One of the significant changes that comes with the new law is an increase in OSHA violation fines in North Carolina to match federal levels. This means that maximum penalties have more than doubled. Fines for serious and other-than-serious OSHA violations and fines have increased from $7,000 to $14,502, while willful or repeated violations will be fined at a maximum of $145,027 compared to previous penalties of $70,000. Penalties will also be adjusted for inflation each year, as is the case with federal OSHA fines.

As well as the increase, OSHA will now have more time to look into violations. Previous regulations stated that inspections were to be carried out and citations had to be issued to employers within six months. Now, OSHA will now have six months to issue a citation once their investigation has been started. This could lead to authorities receiving a report and taking months to start looking into it, effectively delaying the whole process that leads up to a potential penalty.

How can employers adapt to new regulations?

Worker safety is becoming an increasingly important issue all over the US. Legislators in other states have also put the spotlight on health and safety regulations recently. Labor shortages and competitive job markets can lead to high employee turnover and inefficient training, making it harder than ever for employers to skill-test new hires and follow strict regulations.

In January 2022, new laws came into effect in California that drastically increased OSHA violation fines, expanded grounds for harsher penalties, and increased the likelihood of high-impact, company-wide fines. California is considered a trailblazer when it comes to worker rights, so this may lead to other states following suit in the near future.

OSHA violations and fines are expensive, so it’s in your organization’s best interest to comply with new regulations and take worker safety very seriously. Training and preparation are effective ways to ensure compliance across your organization. Identifying high-risk areas of your business and establishing a strong safety culture is key.

This can be easier said than done, especially when dealing with new employees and temporary talent. Working with an experienced staffing agency like Adecco can make your business more efficient in its safety compliance strategy. Our team offers on-site training, award-winning risk management, and the latest in smart technology – all of which are proven methods to reduce workplace injuries and safety violations. If you’d like to learn more about how our team can help you navigate changing health and safety laws, contact Adecco today.