DG Digest: Agencies Adjust Civil Penalties; DHS Delays REAL ID Enforcement Until May 2023

A variety of federal agencies announced the implementation of civil penalty adjustments for their fine structures; among those agencies announcing such action was the FRA.  Here a Seattle Sound Transit commuter train passes a waiting BNSF freight movement in Auburn, Washington on Wednesday, April 28th, 2021.  Photo by Nikki Burgess © 4/2021; all rights reserved.

Happy May greetings!  Hopefully this new month will bring not only the traditional “May Flowers” but also mark a turning point in our nation’s ongoing battle to control the COVID-19 pandemic.  At this point the whole country is eligible to be vaccinated, so as HSE professionals, let’s make sure we’re ready to help our fellow employees if they choose to move forward with an inoculation and ask for assistance in making the arrangements.  The week saw a variety of regulatory action; let’s review it now:

Federal Civil Penalty Adjustments

From time to time, the various federal regulatory agencies that possess enforcement authority adjust the fines they impose in order to keep up with inflation or in response to agency policies and intent.  A new “crop” of such adjustments has been published this week that include many of the agencies DG professionals are familiar with; here’s a relevant list and links to each agency’s action:

FAA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-03/pdf/2021-08224.pdf

FMCSA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-03/pdf/2021-08224.pdf

FRA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-03/pdf/2021-08224.pdfHS

PHMSA: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-03/pdf/2021-08224.pdf

USDOT: https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/FR-2021-05-03/pdf/2021-08224.pdf


The agency published an important rule delaying implementation of the so-called REAL ID Act from October 1st, 2021 to May 3rd, 2023. The Act requires substantially upgraded security and identification protocols for use entering federally controlled sites, notably airports and harbors. This is principally being addressed on the state level by enhanced driver’s licenses, but the ongoing pandemic has severely impacted this effort, hence the new delay to implementation. See the rule here.


The agency published an ICR related to man-lifts. Such platforms are a common item in commercial industrial facilities and helping to ensure safe use is an important part of OSHA’s job. See the ICR here.

A second ICR addresses the Methylene Chloride Standard.

Yet a third ICR addresses the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. The standard impacts virtually every American workplace in one fashion or another.

Finally, a fourth and last ICR covers slings. Slings form a critical component of lifting operations and require testing and recordkeeping regarding their status. See the ICR here.


The Coast Guard updated its random drug testing requirement for covered crewmembers in maritime operations in US controlled waters. The new rate is 50%. See the rule here.


The agency published the 39th update to the federal hazardous waste compliance docket. The docket tracks EPA regulated waste operations at federal sites. See the update here.

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