Oregon Legislative Proposals – SB 592 – Proposes Dramatic Expansion of OR-OSHA Authority. Increase in OR-OSHA Penalties; OR-OSHA Authority to Issue Repeat Violations Expanded; Current Small Business Penalty Adjustment Provision Undermined; OR-OSHA Authority to Impose Abatement Measures expanded; and OR-OSHA Inspection Authority Expanded.
Senate Bill 592 was introduced during the current legislative assembly by the Senate Labor & Business Committee Chair, Senator Kathleen Taylor, D – District 21 – Milwaukie, Oak Grove, SE & NE Portland.
Increase OR-OSHA Penalties. SB 592 removes the current provision in the statute indicating that there is no minimum penalty for an alleged “other than serious” violation. Instead, the proposed amendment to the statute indicates that the proposed penalty may not exceed $13,653.00. SB 592 eliminates the penalty minimum for an alleged “serious” violation and instead provides that the proposed civil penalty shall not exceed $13,653.00. If the alleged “serious” violation caused or contributed to the death of an employee, the imposed penalty shall be between $20,000.00 and $50,000.00. For alleged willful or repeated violations, the proposed civil penalty shall be an amount between $9,753.00 and $136,532.00 per violation. For alleged willful or repeated violations that cause or contribute to the death of an employee, the penalty shall increase to an amount between $50,000.00 and $250,000.00 per violation. SB 592 also calls for the proposed penalty amounts to be adjusted annually to account for any percentage change in the Consumer Price Index by January 15th of each year.
Authority to Issue Alleged “Repeat” Violations / Impose Abatement. SB 592 essentially eliminates the current law which provides OR-OSHA will only issue a repeat violation where the employer was issued a substantially similar violation within the previous three years. SB 592 allows OR-OSHA to review an employer’s entire OR-OSHA inspection and citation history in considering whether an alleged violation has been “repeated.” Further, SB 592 eliminates small business penalty adjustments unless an adjustment is conditioned upon the employer’s agreement to unspecified additional mitigation measures determined by OR-OSHA without regard to reasonableness and feasibility.
Inspection Authority Expanded for Fixed Places of Employment. SB 592 would require comprehensive inspections of fixed places of employment within one year of the closing conference following either an occupational death, or the most recent violation where three or more willful or repeated violations occur within a one-year period.
The Senate Committee on Labor and Business has scheduled a public hearing to discuss this bill Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at 8:00 a.m., and again on Thursday, February 16, 2023, at 8AM.
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