OSHA Increasing Fines for First Time in Decades

On November 3rd it was announced that OSHA would increase penalties for the first time since 1990. The new provision is entitled the “Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Improvements Act of 2015.”

This law compensates for the “freeze” on financial penalty increases that had been in place for the last 25 years. The Agreement allows OSHA to make a one-time “catch-up” increase to compensate for the more than two decades of no increases. The catch-up increase can’t exceed the inflation rate from 1990 through 2015 as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will be about 82%.

Assuming OSHA applies the maximum catch-up increase allowed, the current maximum $70,000 fine for a Repeat and Willful violation would grow to as much as $125,000 each. The new act does include a potential exception to the increases. OSHA is allowed to forego following the  guidelines if “increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount will have a negative economic impact [on America]” or “the social costs of increasing the civil monetary penalty by the otherwise required amount outweigh the benefits.” This language gives OSHA considerable latitude to apply these fines as they see fit. After this one-time catch-up increase, OSHA will use inflation rate as a guide for future increases.

Employers may have several months to anticipate these higher penalties, but action on safety should begin immediately. Ensuring your forklift fleet is being properly maintained by service professionals and that all your forklift operators have current training on the equipment they operate, in the facility they operate them in, will keep you protected from these fines.

As we have discussed in previous articles forklift operator training and forklift maintenance have benefits that go beyond avoiding expensive penalties.  Workplace safety protects workers, improves morale and can actually help the bottom line profits for all workplaces. Rather than just treating safety as an expense, management should work to develop a business plan to achieve safety goals, avoid fines, and reduce insurance expense and lost time.

Visit our Forklift Operator Training page and learn more about our Planned Maintenance Program to ensure your fleet, and operators are safe and productive. Then contact us at 866-393-9833 for a quote to proving ongoing training and maintenance to ensure they both stay within safe operating parameters.

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Section 179 is Back and Better for 2016

Sec179Congress has approved much needed improvements in Section 179 which allows companies, like yours, the ability to completely deduct the purchase cost of equipment the first year it is put into service. The new limits are:

Maximum 179 Deduction for 2016: $500,000

This means for qualifying equipment purchases of up to $500,000, your company can deduct 100% of the purchase price from its taxes the very first year it is put into service.

Further, this maximum will be increased annually, with the maximum tied to inflation, at $10,000 increments.

Bonus Depreciation; Maximum Qualifying Purchases: $2,000,000

Once you exceed the maximum deduction of $500,000, bonus depreciation kicks in at 50%, until you reach the maximum qualifying purchases of $2,000,000. For example, if you spend $1,000, ooo on new equipment, you can fully deduct the first $500,000, then deduct 50% of the remaining $500,000 for a total tax deduction the first year of $750,000.  It then begins to phase out dollar for dollar until you reach $2,500,000, where it is then completely eliminated.

Bonus Depreciation will be extended through 2019. Businesses of all sizes will be able to depreciate 50 percent of the cost of equipment acquired and put in service during 2015, 2016 and 2017. Then bonus depreciation will phase down to 40 percent in 2018 and 30 percent in 2019.

Note: The section 179 deduction applies to NEW and USED equipment whereas the bonus depreciation is only available for NEW equipment.

What that means to the purchase price of a NEW, $30,000 forklift? Assuming your company is in the 35% tax bracket, your effective cost, after deducting the entire $30,000 from your taxes, is only $19,500!

With Section 179 in effect for the remainder of 2015 and all of 2016, and beyond, there’s never been a better time to invest in new forklifts for your facility.

Note: We always suggest you consult your accountant or tax professional before you utilize section 179 for tax savings. Not all companies are structured the same and your savings may vary.

To learn more about Section 179, please visit; www.section179.org. Visit our New Linde Forklifts, New CLARK Forklifts, New UniCarriers Forklifts and Used inventory to see our models. Then Contact Us for a quote, or give us a call at 866-393-9833.