“The New OSHA” as described by many department heads is showing its colors and making good on its promises. The recently enacted Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) is now in effect and being enforced. What exactly does this mean to you?
In the words of David Michaels, OSHA administrator, “SVEP will help OSHA concentrate its efforts on those repeatedly recalcitrant employers who fail to meet their obligations under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It will include a more intense examination of an employer’s practices for systemic problems that would trigger additional mandatory inspections.”
In reality it means more inspections, bigger fines and larger inspection scope. Basically if you’re not making real efforts to keep your employees safe, it’ll cost you. Under this program OSHA has promised to visit more employers with higher incidence rates, automatically include employers for follow up inspections, visit other locations run under the same corporate umbrella and raise fines for the first time since the 1990s. The fine increase is significant from a max penalty for a willful violation from $70,000 to $250,000.
We’ll see how all of this pans out for our clients, although with what we’ve personally seen in the past few months in much of the country, this program certainly seems to be on track. Have any of you seen an increase in regulatory pressure?