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OSHA expands severe violator program

The U.S. Department of Labor is expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

Employers can now be placed on the list for violating any hazard. Previously, an employer could be put in the program for failing to meet a limited number of standards. The changes will broaden the program’s scope, with the possibility that additional industries will fall within its parameters.

The OSHA program targets employers who repeatedly disregard worker health and safety. The violator list is updated quarterly, and employers can be included even when their case is under appeal.

The revisions empower OSHA “to sharpen its focus on employers who – even after receiving citations for exposing workers to hazardous conditions and serious dangers – fail to mitigate these hazards,” said OSHA Assistant Secretary Doug Parker in a statement.

Program updates will also impact how long an employer stays in the SVEP program. Specifically:

  • Potential removal from the SVEP now begins three years after verification of hazard abatement. Previously, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
  • Employers can reduce the time to two years if they consent to an enhanced settlement that includes the use of an OSHA-approved safety and health management system.