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PDFWAC 296-900-14010

Base penalties.

• DOSH calculates the base penalty for a violation by considering the following:
– Specific amounts that are dictated by statute;
– By assigning a weight to a violation, called "gravity." Gravity is calculated by multiplying a violation's severity rate by its probability rate. Expressed as a formula:
Gravity = Severity x Probability
Most base penalties are calculated by the gravity method.
• Severity and probability are established in the following ways:
– Severity rates are based on the most serious injury, illness, or disease that could be reasonably expected to occur because of a hazardous condition.
– Severity rates are expressed in whole numbers and range from 1 (lowest) to 3 (highest).
– Tables 3 and 4 are used to determine the severity rate for a violation.
Table 3
Severity - Serious Violations
Injuries involving permanent disability
Chronic, irreversible illness
Disability of a limited nature
Injuries or reversible illnesses resulting in hospitalization
Injuries or temporary, reversible illnesses resulting in serious physical harm
May require removal from exposure or supportive treatment without hospitalization for recovery
Table 4
Severity - General Violations
General violation
Conditions that could cause injury or illness to an employee but would not result in serious physical harm
A probability rate is a number that describes the likelihood that an injury, illness, or disease will occur ranging from 1 (lowest) to 3 (highest). See Table 5.
– When determining probability, DOSH considers a variety of factors, depending on the situation, such as:
■ Frequency and amount of exposure.
■ Number of employees exposed.
■ Instances, or number of times, the hazard is identified in the workplace.
■ How close an employee is to the hazard, i.e., the proximity of the employee to the hazard.
■ Weather and other working conditions.
■ Employee skill level and training.
■ Employee awareness of the hazard.
■ The pace, speed, and nature of the task or work.
■ Use of personal protective equipment.
■ Other mitigating or contributing circumstances.
Table 5
If the factors considered indicate the likelihood of injury or illness would be relatively high.
If the factors considered indicate the likelihood of injury or illness would be moderate.
If the factors considered indicate an injury or illness could occur, but the likelihood would be relatively low.
– Table 6 is used to determine the dollar amount for each gravity-based penalty, unless otherwise specified by statute.
Table 6
Gravity-Based Penalty - Serious Violations
Severity x Probability = Gravity
The minimum penalty for a standard serious violation = one hundred dollars.
(A penalty is required by statute for a serious violation; where adjustments would result in a penalty below the minimum, the minimum will be applied.)
The maximum statutory penalty for a serious violation will be the maximum civil penalty established by the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration under 29 C.F.R. 1903.15 or seven thousand dollars, whichever is more.
• Occupational Safety and Health AdministrationOSHA penalties.
• Occupational Safety and Health Administration 29 C.F.R. 1903.15 Proposed penalties.
• RCW 49.17.180 ViolationsCivil penalties.
Table 7
General Violations Penalty
General violation (first time nonstatutory)
General violation base penalty
A penalty is not applied to first time general violations. The base penalty is used to calculate the penalty for willful, repeat, or failure to abate general violations.
[Statutory Authority: RCW 49.17.010, 49.17.040, 49.17.050, and 49.17.060. WSR 19-01-097, § 296-900-14010, filed 12/18/18, effective 1/21/19; WSR 15-13-049, § 296-900-14010, filed 6/9/15, effective 9/1/15; WSR 06-06-020, § 296-900-14010, filed 2/21/06, effective 6/1/06.]
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