4 The record articles

OSHA Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP)

Posted: June 19th, 2023

Authors: Christina H. 

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) established the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) on June 18, 2010. The SVEP summarized enforcement policies and procedures for inspecting employers that demonstrated what OSHA defines as “indifference to their Occupational Safety Health (OSH) Act obligations” by either meeting the criteria of willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.

On September 15, 2022, OSHA released Directive Number CPL 02-00-169 to update enforcement policies and procedures for the SVEP. Key takeaways include the following:

  • Expanded criteria for placement on the SVEP.
  • Established a timeframe for conducting a follow-up inspection.
  • Extended requirements and timeframes for removal from the SVEP.

The 2022 update strengthens the department’s enforcement capabilities and expands the program’s scope, which may impact industries not previously affected. This reflects the Biden-Harris administration’s desire to ensure employers maintain safe and healthy workplaces and be held accountable when they fail to do so.

SVEP Placement Criteria

For an employer to be placed in the SVEP, an inspection must result in an issue of failure-to-abate notice(s) for any of the following categories or in a willful, repeated violation(s) for the first two categories:

  1. Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion – incidents resulting in at least one fatality or three hospitalizations.
  2. Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion – two or more incidents that involve high gravity serious violations.
  3. Egregious Criterion – all egregious enforcement actions.

Previously, the Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion only included two or more willful or repeated violations or issued failure-to-abate notices for incidents related to employee exposure to specific high-emphasis hazards or three or more violations related to the potential release of highly hazardous chemicals. This has been expanded to include all OSHA standards and hazards.

Follow-Up Inspections

After inspection results in a notice or violation, the Review Commission must consider the case under Section 11(b) of the OSH Act. If the citation is affirmed, a final order will require the employer to be placed under the SVEP and address the violation. Within one to two years, a follow-up inspection must be conducted to assess if the violation(s) have been mitigated and whether there are similar or related hazard violations. Previously, there was no required inspection timeframe.

Removal from SVEP

After being placed in the SVEP, an employer becomes eligible for removal at least three years after they receive an acceptable abatement verification. This expands the time the employer must remain on the public list, as employers were previously eligible for SVEP removal three years after a final order affirmed a citation.

However, employers can now enter into an enhanced settlement agreement to reduce their time in the program to two years. This agreement would require establishing a safety and health management system that, at a minimum, meets the seven basic elements outlined in OSHA’s Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

How is this impacting facilities?

By introducing additional placement criteria, a stricter timeframe for follow-up inspections, and a longer process to be removed from the SVEP, employers are encouraged to take a more proactive approach to establishing and maintaining healthy and safe workplaces.

If you have questions about how this may affect your facility, please get in touch with Christina Hruzek at chruzek@all4inc.com or your ALL4 Project Manager.


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