DOL Expands OSHA Severe Violator Program Criteria
The U.S. Department of Labor expanded the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, effective Sept. 15, 2022.
The program focuses on inspecting employers who have repeatedly violated federal health and safety laws.
Previously, investigators would place an organization in the program if they did not meet a number of limited standards.
The criteria included deadly cases, cases with three or more hospitalizations, process safety management cases, and egregiously-classified enforcement actions.
While the new criteria continues to focus on repeat offenders, it also expands the standards to include all safety violations, meaning employers from additional industries could be brought into the program.
Specifically, employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations will be placed in the program, as well as employers who receive failure-to-abate notices for serious violations.
Follow-up inspections will also be made one year, but no longer than two years, after the final order.
The new program does however, offer employers a chance to be removed earlier if they fix problems quickly and develop lasting solutions.
Under the new instruction, OSHA can remove an employer from the program three years after the date of verification that all hazards have been abated.
Employers can cut their time in the program even shorter—to two years—if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that involves implementing a safety and health management system.
The system must include the seven basic elements of OSHA’s recommended practices.
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