Department of Labor Updates Severe Violator Enforcement Program

Department of Labor Updates Severe Violator Enforcement Program

Some of the changes include the kind of violations needed to be placed in the program and when employers can be removed from the list.

Last week, the Department of Labor (DOL) announced changes to OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program.

Under the update, employers can be placed in the Severe Violator Enforcement Program based on all hazard and OSHA standard violations, the DOL said in a news release. Before the change, the criteria outlined some hazards and OSHA standards, not all.

“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,” said Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker in the news release.

According to the criteria, updated to augment enforcement and compliance and decrease injuries, employers may be placed in the program if citations include “at least two willful or repeated violations,” the DOL says, or some “failure-to-abate notices based on the presence of high-gravity serious violations.”

A follow-up inspection will take place between one and two years after the final order is issued. Three years after receiving verification that changes have been made, employers can be removed from the program. Before this, employers would have to wait three years after the “final date order.”

Employers can be removed as soon as two years with “an enhanced settlement agreement,” the agency said.

“Today’s expanded criteria reflect the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to ensuring OSHA has the tools it needs to ensure employers protect their workers or hold them accountable when they fail to provide safe and healthy workplaces,” Parker said in the news release.

The changes are effective until they are cancelled or other changes are published. 


About the Author

Alex Saurman is a former Content Editor for Occupational Health & Safety,who has since joined OH&S’s client services team. She continues to work closely with OH&S’s editorial team and contributes to the magazine.

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