The federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration has issued a memorandum setting out criteria for removing employers from the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), the government’s watch list of most dangerous workplaces.
The SVEP was designed to dedicate resources to inspecting those employers that OSHA considers “recalcitrant”—that is, those that have been issued willful, repeat or failure-to-abate citations.
According to the OSHA memo, employers “may be removed from the SVEP after a period of three years from the date of final disposition of the SVEP inspection citation items.”
Final disposition can include:
- Declining to contest a citation, which makes the citation final
- An informal or formal settlement agreement
- A final order from the Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission
- A final order from a U.S. Court of Appeals.
However, final disposition is no guarantee an employer will come off the SVEP list. The OSHA memo left the decision to remove an employer from the SVEP to the discretion of OSHA regional administrators. Removal is conditioned not only on the three-year “waiting period” from the final disposition, but also on additional follow-up inspections and a review of OSHA safety data.
Note: The conditions suggest that the decision to remove an employer from the SVEP is up to the subjective judgment of each OSHA regional administrator.
The new SVEP removal criteria are much more stringent than under the predecessor Enhanced Enforcement Program (EEP). Now, employers must be diligent to ensure that they are removed from the SVEP list after three years.