Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn
On September 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced the expansion of the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) to reduce worker injuries and illnesses, according to a national news release from the DOL.
The new criteria include violations of all hazards and OSHA standards and will focus on repeat offenders in all industries. Previously, an employer could be in the program for failing to meet a limited number of standards. The changes will broaden the program’s scope and additional industries may fall within its parameters.
Since 2010, the SVEP has focused on enforcement and inspection resources on employers who either willfully or repeatedly violate federal health and safety laws or demonstrate a refusal to correct previous violations. These employers are included on a public list and subject to follow-up inspections. The updated criteria include:
- Program placement for employers with citations for at least two willful or repeated violations or who receive failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.
- Follow-up or referral inspections made one year – but not longer than two years – after the final order.
- Potential removal from the SVEP three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards. In the past, removal could occur three years after the final order date.
- Employers’ ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years, if they consent to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes use of a safety and health management system with seven basic elements in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.
“The Severe Violator Enforcement Program empowers 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,” Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker stated in the news release.
The updated program instruction replaces the 2010 instruction, and remains in effect until canceled or superseded. To read Assistant Secretary Parker’s blog on the Severe Violator Enforcement Program, visit
Employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970. OSHA helps ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, and assistance.
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