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  • Adele L. Abrams, Esq., CMSP

OSHA Relaunches Beefed-Up Severe Violator Enforcement Program


OSHA has relaunched a revised Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), building on its 2010 program that went dormant during the Trump administration. OSHA’s updated SVEP criteria include the following:


  • 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 Severe Violator Enforcement Program three years after the date of receiving verification that the employer has abated all program-related hazards.

  • 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 (I2P2).

OSHA first introduced the SVEP in June 18, 2010, replacing the "Enhanced Enforcement Program." OSHA designates employers as "severe violators" if they have an inspection meeting one or more of the following criteria:


  • Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion: A fatality/catastrophe inspection in which OSHA finds one or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices based on a serious violation related to a death of an employee or three or more hospitalizations.

  • Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion Related to High-Emphasis Hazards: An inspection in which OSHA finds two or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations/notices), based on high gravity serious violations related to a High-Emphasis Hazard. High-Emphasis Hazards are targeted and include fall hazards and hazards identified from the following National Emphasis Programs (NEPs): amputations, combustible dust, crystalline silica, excavation/trenching, lead, and shipbreaking.

  • Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion for Hazards Due to the Potential Release of a Highly Hazardous Chemical (Process Safety Management): An inspection in which OSHA finds three or more willful or repeated violations or failure-to-abate notices (or any combination of these violations/notices), based on high gravity serious violations related to hazards due to the potential release of a highly hazardous chemical, as defined in the PSM standard.

  • Egregious Criterion: All egregious (e.g., per-instance citations) enforcement actions will be considered SVEP cases.


For assistance on OSHA compliance and enforcement, contact the Law Office at 301-595-3520.

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