RVIA Economic Impact Study

The Recreation Vehicle Industry Association commissioned an Economic Impact Study on the RV industry, released on June 7, 2016. The study found that the RV industry contributes about $49.7 billion in economic output or 0.28 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. Through its production and distribution linkages, the industry impacts firms in 426 of the 440 sectors of the United States economy.

Nationwide, the industry is responsible for 216,170 jobs, both directly and inderectly, creating an economic impact of $37.5 billion. The full study results, along with each individual state and congressional district's economic impact is available on the website by clicking here .

RV News Exclusive: Fines for Federal Violations to Increase by 78 Perc

Wed Aug 3, 2016

As of Aug. 1, federal fines for EPA, OSHA and other agency violations have increased by as much as 78 percent, making the regulations and penalties associated with RV dealers and businesses significant.

KPA put on a webinar on Aug. 3 about what the new increased fines could mean to RV dealers and businesses, which, if caught in a violation, could create a substantial financial hindrance.

KPA Vice President of Product and Business Development Eric Schmitz says part of the reason for the increases is led by inflation since the agencies haven’t increased the fines and penalties for a number of years.

“Several agencies hadn’t increased their fines in quite some time,” Schmitz says. “Because of that, the catchup was large. What we’re looking at, from a federal standpoint, is if you’re cited, you will have an increase in your penalties.”

The fines deal with both the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) fines. Of the two, the EPA fines have historically been the higher, and the one that Schmitz and others at KPA look at with the most fear.

“With the increases of more than 65 environmental statutes, we can see that these fine increases could potentially be very bad for our clients if they’re cited by the EPA or the state agency that has their authority handed down by the EPA.”

OSHA penalties have increased by a flat rate of a maximum of about 78 percent across the board, which also could be significant when looking at a few examples that KPA shared.

One company in Massachusetts had been cited for a $70,000 infraction, of which they were ultimately fined $66,000 for an OSHA violation. If that penalty was applied with the full 78 percent increase, the same company would be fined about $117,000. In a related increase, the current penalty for a workplace safety violation would be at around $507,000. Under the new rule and with the 78 percent increase, a company could see as much as a $902,460 fine.

“That is a significant increase,” KPA Vice President of Human Relations Kathryn Carlson says. “They (OSHA) does have the flexibility to decide the penalty. The violations include serious and willful.”

Another step increase would be to Employee Benefits Security Administration. If a company fails to furnish a report on its employees, the penalty was $11 per employee. However, with the increases, it would be at $28 per employee.

“You can look at that and say ‘That’s not that bad. It’s only $28,’” Carlson says. “But it’s not only $28. It’s $28 per participant. If you have 100 employees, it adds up quickly.”

While the fines and penalties certainly are going to be more significant than ever, KPA says the focus shouldn’t be on the negative aspects of the fine increases, but how to make sure that the dealers and businesses remain compliant with the rules and regulations, so a fine isn’t imposed, which would make the belts tighten uncomfortably for the business.

“The focus should be on how do we be compliant?” Carlson says. “No one wants to pay a fine, so let’s figure out what we can do to make sure we don’t get fined in the first place. That’s the No. 1 thing that we’re trying to do with this webinar today.”