Architecture Construction Safety First Career Concept

(Originally published May 2021.)
As we mark a year of businesses operating during a worldwide pandemic, it is a good time to give your facilities and operations a thorough review.

  • Are you overlooking – or delaying – improvements needed to achieve or maintain regulatory compliance?
  • Have you moved some of those necessary changes to the “optional” category, to be dealt with whenever you have free time again?
  • Is your regulatory burden taking you away from the precious time needed for other pressing matters, like developing or expanding your business?
  • Are you having a struggle finding environmental, health, or safety staff to fill open positions
  • Did you recently hire EHS staff needing guidance?

These are common observations we make every day. Take a moment to read up on these recent developments and how they present an opportunity to take a closer look at Turnkey’s potential for your organization.

In an earlier blog, we reviewed new workplace guidelines issued by the Department of Labor considering the Covid-19 pandemic. Around the same time, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) approved increasing their respective penalty schedules. Penalties across the regulatory spectrum change often, and sometimes more than once in the same calendar year.

The financial impact to businesses not ensuring a safe workplace, protection of the environment, or proper shipments of hazardous materials, including hazardous waste shipments is very real and is most often unintended. 

The chart below illustrates OSHA’s updated penalty schedule recently published in the Federal Register.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Civil Penalties 2021

Type of penaltyAmount (per violation, per day)
Maximum civil penalty for serious violations$13,653
Maximum civil penalty for other than serious violations$13,653
Maximum civil penalty for willful or repeat violations$136,532
Minimum civil penalty for willful violations$9,753

For reference, the five most cited violations by OSHA in the fiscal year 2020 were:

  • Hazard Communication (29 CFR 1910.1200)
  • Lockout/Tagout (29 CFR 1910.147)
  • Respiratory Protection (29 CFR 1910.134)
  • Forklifts/Powered Industrial Trucks (29 CFR 1910.178)
  • Machine Guarding (29 CFR 1910.212)

Does your company have a program for each? Do you provide adequate training for each element? Do you know if the regulation even applies to your organization?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also released an updated penalty schedule for violations at the end of 2020. One notable example: the maximum penalty for a violation of the hazardous waste regulations found in EPA’s Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) is $102,638. That is per violation per day.

 Here is a summary of EPA’s penalty schedule:

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Updated Civil Penalties
(as of December 23, 2020)

Environmental StatuteAcronymPenalty (per violation, per day)
Clean Air ActCAA$102,638
Resource Conservation and Recovery ActRCRA$102,638
Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know ActEPCRA$59,017
Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability ActCERCLA$59,017
Safe Drinking Water ActSDWA$59,017
Clean Water ActCWA$56,460
Toxic Substances Control ActTSCA$41,056
Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide ActFIFRA$20,528

On May 3, 2021, the DOT revised the penalties as follows:

Department of Transportation (DOT) Civil Penalties

Type of PenaltyAmount (per violation, per day)
Maximum civil penalty for hazardous materials shipping violation$84,425
Maximum civil penalty for violation that results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage$196,992
Minimum penalty for failure to provide hazardous materials training for employees$508

Developing a strategy with Walden’s EHS Division is a phone call away. We can immediately begin the process to ensure that a complicated maze of regulations is simplified and manageable for you and your team. When you partner with Walden, you are part of a team that possesses a deep understanding of these regulations and the experience to apply efficient and effective solutions. As a core element of our partnership, we keep on top of regulatory changes that apply to your organization so you can focus on your manufacturing business.

Not a client yet, but interested in making an initial inquiry? Do you have an immediate need for support while you look for a new EHS manager or have a new EHS manager who needs guidance and advice? Become a part of a growing group of Walden EHS clients interested in learning how to simplify and sustain compliance. Connect with a solutions specialist today and schedule a complimentary assessment or email us at