US Department of Labor Launches New Initiative to Collect OSHA Debts

New series of payment letters will make clear what’s owed, and OSHA will put businesses that fail to pay citations on a priority list for further inspection

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The Occupational Safety & Health Administration is already starting to get tough on enforcement, even before Joe Biden’s inauguration and his mission to as much as double the number of OSHA inspectors. (The agency already announced increases in maximum penalty amounts.)

OSHA's initiative is part of broader efforts across President Trump’s U.S. Department of Labor.

  • OSHA is implementing a series of three penalty payment letters to be sent seven, 30 and 60 days after an establishment fails to timely pay a penalty based on a final order.
  • OSHA will also contact establishments by phone 14 days after the payment comes due.
  • OSHA will place establishments that fail to pay penalties on a priority list for further inspection.

The DOL announced in late December a final rule intended to improve its debt-collection policy, deterrence and enforcement. The prior rule provided that "second and subsequent demands shall generally be made at 30-day intervals from the first."

"By getting demand letters out with quicker action, the Department will maximize collections of delinquent debts owed to the Government," said Chief Financial Officer James Williams. "The Department owes it to the public to ensure we are doing everything possible to hold violators accountable for their actions."

At the conclusion of an OSHA inspection where a final order is issued, employers must abate hazards to protect workers and pay assessed penalties.