The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) in 2010 to use its limited resources more effectively. OSHA is not a big organization, and does not have the ability to investigate every employer guilty of safety violations. SVEP allows OSHA to focus on the businesses with the most serious workplace hazards.
Businesses can wind up in SVEP by meeting certain criteria, such as willful or repeat violations that caused the death or hospitalizations of workers. Employers can also wind up in SVEP for violations OSHA defines as “egregious”. In other words, SVEP placement can depend on the violation, accident and whether the business failed to fix the safety risks beforehand.
Are Businesses Given a Chance to Fix Serious Workplace Hazards?
There is a public-shaming element to SVEP. Once on the list, it can be difficult to attract new business partners or contracts with a reputation for allowing unsafe work environments. Some public organizations may be forbidden from working with businesses placed in SVEP.
Employers are also under pressure to be on their best behavior. Businesses listed in SVEP are fined and subjected to follow-up inspections to ensure compliance. To get off the list, it may take a reduction in citations (meaning the business never qualified for SVEP placement in the first place), or more than three years of compliance with OSHA safety standards.
Workers pay the ultimate price for unsafe work environments. Many employers who land on OSHA’s hall of shame have put workers at risk for amputation, fall injuries, chemical exposure and death.
The Ohio workers comp attorneys at Larrimer & Larrimer, LLC encourage a strong commitment to workplace safety.