US DOT, EPA, and OSHA Increase Civil Penalties for 2023

Posted on 1/7/2023 by Roger Marks

Update: OSHA Increases Civil Penalties (01/15/23)

OSHA has increased the maximum and minimum civil penalties for all categories of workplace health and safety violations, as applicable, to keep pace with inflation. The Department of Labor (DOL) Final Rule was published to the Federal Register with an effective date of January 15, 2023 for the new maximum and minimum penalty figures.  

The maximum penalty for a willful or repeat violation of 29 CFR Standards is now $156,259—an $11,000 increase over last year. The minimum penalty for willful or repeat violations increased about $1,000 to $11,162.

Jump to the OSHA section below to see current penalties for additional types of OSHA violations like repeat, serious, other-than-serious, and failure-to-abate.

Jump to: 

2023 DOT Hazmat Civil Penalties 
2023 RCRA Hazardous Waste Civil Penalties
2023 US EPA Air, Water, and Chemical Program Civil Penalties
2023 OSHA Workplace Health & Safety Civil Penalties 

US DOT, US EPA, and OSHA each published an increase to their respective civil penalties in January of 2023. Civil penalties increase every year to keep pace with inflation. 

When civil penalties rise, the value of environmental, health and safety, and hazardous materials compliance rises too. Typical compliance violations may not result in maximum penalties, these increased figures will guide enforcement decisions in 2023. 

49 CFR Hazmat Shipping & Transportation 

US transportation agencies increased the maximum civil penalties for violations of the Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) by nearly $7,000 in 2023.

The new maximum (and minimum) monetary penalties for hazmat shipping violations: 

$96,624 per day, per violation 

for a hazardous materials violation.

$225,455 per day, per violation 

if a violation results in death, serious illness, severe injury, or substantial property damage.

$582 per employee, per day

Minimum penalty for hazmat training violations.

See the US DOT Final Rule here. 

Additional Consequences of HMR Violations

Civil penalties are only one potential consequence of noncompliance with the HMR. Failure to comply with US DOT regulations can also cause a shipment to be rejected by the carrier or removed from transportation. Often, this means work must be repeated to ensure delivery. 

Incidents like leaks, spills, and fires that occur due to inadequate packaging or package closures must be reported to US DOT. Hazardous materials inspectors review these reports to identify facilities that ship hazmat.

Hazardous Waste Management (RCRA) 

As of January 6, 2023, US EPA has set a new maximum civil penalty of:

$87,855 per day, per violation 

for violations of RCRA hazardous waste management regulations. A $6,000+ increase. 

25 Common RCRA Violations 

This free guide highlights 25 common violations of Federal and State hazardous waste management regulations. Among the most frequently cited violations are failure to identify a hazardous waste, not providing training or annually required re-training for hazardous waste personnel, and storing hazardous waste in containers in poor condition. 

EPA Air, Water, and Chemical Regulations

As of January 6, 2023, the new maximum civil penalties for violations of environmental programs are: 

Major US EPA Programs Before 01/06/23 After 01/06/23
Clean Air Act (CAA)  $109,024 $117,468
Clean Water Act (CWA) $59,973 $64,618
Superfund and Right-to-Know (CERCLA/EPCRA) $62,689 $67,544
Safe Drinking Water Act (SDWA) $62,689 $67,544
Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA)  $43,611 $46,989
Insecticides, Fungicides, and Rodenticides (FIFRA) $21,805 $23,494

See US EPA's Final Rule here. 

OSHA Workplace Health and Safety

OSHA assigns different maximum penalty amounts to violations of various kinds. Below are the new civil penalty values that OSHA can assess for health and safety violations as of January 15, 2023.*  

The maximum penalty for a willful or repeat violation of 29 CFR Standards increased by about $11,000 to $156,259. For all other types of violations, the maximum penalty increased about $1,000. 

Type of OSHA violation Min. Penalty Max Penalty 29 CFR 1903.15...
Willful violation $11,162 $156,259  (d)(1) 
Repeat violation NA $156,259  (d)(2)
Serious violation  NA   $15,625  (d)(3) 
Other than serious violation NA  $15,625 (d)(4)
Failure to abate  NA  $15,625 (d)(5)
OSHA posting requirement NA  $15,625 (d)(6)

Typically, OSHA does not issue citations for de minimis violations. A de minimis violation is one that has no direct or immediate impact on safety and health. Minor recordkeeping variations and minor inspection irregularities are potential examples of de minimis violations.

*The inflation-adjusted penalty amounts apply to violations that occurred after March 23, 2018, for which OSHA assesses penalties after January 15, 2023.   

Why Do Civil Penalties Go Up Every Year?

Annual civil penalty adjustments began in 2015, when the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 amended Federal law related to civil penalties for regulatory violations. Previously, DOT and EPA were required by law to increase penalties only every four years.

The larger penalty amounts shown below will apply to environmental violations for which penalties are assessed after January 6, 2023.

2023 Workshops Are Happening Now!  

Lion's hazardous materials training workshops for 2023 kicked off last week! Join us in a city near you to develop a step by step process for achieving compliance with the latest 49 CFR Hazardous Materials Regulations (HMR) for ground shipments.

The two-day workshop covers every part of the shipping process—from classifying and naming materials to selecting packaging, affixing markings and labels, and filling out shipping papers to meeting shippers' responsibilities for DOT registration, incident reporting, employee training, and more. 

Sign up now for training in Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Cincinnati, or St. Louis or check out Lion's full 2023 training schedule of in-person workshops and live webinars, available now.


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