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OSHA to Enhance Pursuit of Criminal Liability

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OSHA currently has the ability to pursue criminal liability against companies and managers who are involved with a work-related fatality resulting in a “Willful” violation. The maximum penalty if convicted would be up to $500K for the company, $250K for executives, and 6-months in prison. Such convictions are currently classified as “Misdemeanors”.

On December 17, 2015 the Department of Labor announced an initiative to partner with the Department of Justice to seek additional criminal liability for lying during OSHA inspections, making false statements in government documents, obstructing justice, and tampering with witnesses. Convictions under any of these charges would result in elevated penalty amounts, possibly up to 20-years in prison, and they would be classified as a “Felony”. This movement obviously underscores the importance of being honest with OSHA, especially during investigations.

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