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December 18, 2017
Hawaii adopts federal penalty increases
By Emily Scace, Senior Editor, Safety

Effective January 1, 2018, employers in Hawaii will be subject to higher civil penalties for violations of workplace safety and health regulations. The change was made to align with federal OSHA, which raised its civil penalties in August 2016 after more than two decades without penalty increases.

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The August 2016 federal penalty updates included a one-time “catch-up” increase of 78 percent to compensate for the time period during which penalties remained static, in addition to calling for annual updates indexed to inflation. Penalties were raised by an additional 1 percent in January 2017.

Hawaii’s penalty update rule, which was signed into law by Governor David Ige on July 10, 2017, also includes a provision for annual increases. Under the rule, the state’s director of labor and industrial relations will adjust penalties in accordance with guidance from the federal Office of Management and Budget by December 15 of each year, with new penalties taking effect January 15 of the following year.

As of January 2018, employers in Hawaii will face the following penalties for workplace safety and health violations:

  • Serious violations: Up to $12,675 per violation (previously up to $7,700)
  • Other-than-serious violations: Up to $12,65 per violation (previously up to $7,700)
  • Violation of posting requirements: Up to $12,675 per violation (previously up to $7,700)
  • Repeat violation: Up to $126,749 per violation (previously up to $77,000)
  • Willful violation: Minimum of $9,054 up to $126,749 per violation (previously $5,500 to $77,000)
  • Willful or repeat violation resulting in death of an employee: Up to $126,749 (previously up to $77,000) and/or up to 6 months’ imprisonment
  • Discharging or discriminating against employees for exercising occupational safety and health rights: Up to $9,054 per violation (previously up to $1,100)
  • Giving advance notice of an inspection: Up to $9,054 (previously up to 1,100) and/or up to 6 months’ imprisonment
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