OSHA Publishes White Paper on Severe Violator Program
OSHA has made available its own white paper (http://www.osha.gov/dep/enforcement/svep_white_paper.pdf) on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which the agency began in 2010 “to more effectively focus enforcement efforts on recalcitrant employers who demonstrate indifference to the health and safety of their employees through willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations of the OSH Act.” OSHA’s conclusion is that, “The program has succeeded in guiding OSHA enforcement toward recalcitrant employers by targeting high-emphasis hazards, facilitating inspections across multiple worksites of employers found to be recalcitrant, and by providing Regional and State Plan offices with a nationwide referral procedure.” More specifically OSHA concluded the following from its review of the 191 inspections designated as SVEP cases as of the end of FY 2011:
- The mandatory follow-up inspections are regularly conducted.
- Enhanced Settlement Provisions are being established with employers requiring measures above and beyond basic hazard abatement to ensure compliance at the cited facility and at other related facilities. Of the 180 inspections that were still SVEP cases as of February 2012, 67 settlements included enhanced settlement provisions. The most commonly-used provisions require employers to provide safety training, inform OSHA of current and future worksites, use OSHA’s consultation services, and regularly conduct safety and health audits.
- Follow-up and related inspections of construction companies have been difficult. Because of the short-term nature of the jobs and the small size of the companies, they often cannot be located for follow-ups.
- To date, few SVEP cases have triggered related inspections of the same employers across multiple sites.
- To date, few SVEP cases have required court orders to force compliance under section 11(b) of the OSH Act.
- Clarification and standardization of policies between OSHA and the Department of Labor’s Solicitors Office (SOL) are needed to facilitate joint work (such as 11(b) orders, citation deletion and reclassification, and the inclusion of enhanced settlement provisions).