A regular MSHA citation that hits all the high notes in terms of penalty points will cost as much as $72,620 in 2019 (based on company size, prior violations, negligence, and gravity), MSHA announced yesterday. A flagrant MSHA violation – the most severe – will now cost $266,275.

The notice was part of the Department of Labor’s Final Rule for the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act Annual Adjustment for 2019. Federal law requires DOL to adjust civil penalties for inflation by January 15th of each year and to issue a final rule in the Federal Register. This year’s publication was delayed due to the partial government shutdown. The new penalty levels took effect yesterday.

So, what will that MSHA citation cost me now?

To calculate 2019 penalty levels, DOL multiplied last year’s penalties by 1.02522. Key new penalty amounts are summarized below:

Type of citation/order Minimum penalty
per violation
Maximum penalty
per violation
Section 104(a) regular assessment (typical citation) $135 $72,620
Section 104(d)(1) unwarrantable failure $2,421
Section 104(d)(2) unwarrantable failure $4,840
Failure to report within 15 minutes – Section 103(j) $6,052 $72,620
Failure to abate a citation – Section 104(b) $7,867 per day
“No smoking” violation $332
Flagrant violations – Section 110(b)(2) $266,275

Of course, if you receive some these new penalties, you can still contest them within 30 days in order to make your case in court and try to reach a reasonable settlement with MSHA. For assistance with MSHA contests or questions about penalties or strategy, please contact one of us on the MSHA Defense Team: Avi Meyerstein, Brian Hendrix, Donna Pryor, or Erik Dullea.