House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Saturday included a proposal in the 2,465-page, $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill that would fine employers up to $700,000 if they violate a section of OSHA labor law that deals with hazards, death, or serious physical harm to their employees.
The fines, which were quietly inserted over the weekend on page 168 of the bill under section 21004, the Adjustment of Civil Penalties for the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, could bankrupt companies that do not comply with President Joe Biden's COVID-19 rule he tasked OSHA with developing.
According to Forbes, Biden tasked OSHA in September with developing a COVID-19 vaccine enforcement rule for companies with 100 or more employees.
The fines, which passed the House Budget Committee, are an immense increase from the previous $14,000 OSHA fine for employers that "willfully" or "repeatedly" violate the rule.
Changes and increases in penalties proposed in the reconciliation bill are as follows:
"SEC. 21004. ADJUSTMENT OF CIVIL PENALTIES.
(a) OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1970.—Section 17 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. 666) is amended—
(1) in subsection (a)—
(A) by striking '$70,000' and inserting '$700,000'; and
(B) by striking '$5,000' and inserting '$50,000';
(2) in subsection (b), by striking '$7,000' and inserting '$70,000'; and
(3) in subsection (d), by striking '$7,000' and inserting '$70,000'"
According to Cornell University, the provisions under the reconciliation bill would change the fines for the OSHA 1970s law listed below:
"29 U.S. Code § 666 - Civil and criminal penalties
(a) Willful or repeated violation Any employer who willfully or repeatedly violates the requirements of section 654 of this title, any standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 655 of this title, or regulations prescribed pursuant to this chapter may be assessed a civil penalty of not more than $70,000 for each violation, but not less than $5,000 for each willful violation.
(b) Citation for serious violation Any employer who has received a citation for a serious violation of the requirements of section 654 of this title, of any standard, rule, or order promulgated pursuant to section 655 of this title, or of any regulations prescribed pursuant to this chapter, shall be assessed a civil penalty of up to $7,000 for each such violation [emphasis added]."
If the reconciliation bill passes with this provision, companies that do not comply with the vaccination enforcement rule regarding their employees could go bankrupt.
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