Expansion of OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program


The U.S. Department of Labor announced that it was expanding the criteria for placement in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program. This action is intended to increase compliance with workplace safety standards and reduce worker injuries and illnesses.

According to the DOL, the updated 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 (as opposed to medium or low) serious violations. (Previously, the criteria also included exposure to specific high emphasis hazards or to hazards related to the potential release of a highly hazardous chemical)
  • 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. (Previously, 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.