Things You As An Employer Need to Understand About OSHA’s SVEP

Things You As An Employer Need to Understand About OSHA’s SVEPThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has developed a Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) to focus immediate attention and resources on businesses that put their employees in harm’s way.  As an employer, this is not a list you want to be on privately or professionally.

It is essentially a statement and position of the government that declares to the world that you are a high risk danger to your employees and do not have the capacity or will to manage your business.  There are several key areas of focus that you need to be aware of as an employer to remain compliant with the OSHA SVEP rules.

Making The List

The first and best option for every business is to not find yourself on the list.  How?  The entire program is based on the premise that there are companies that pose a specific type of significant risk to their employees in two ways.  If a company has demonstrated through prior injuries, illnesses or fatalities while they also appear indifferent to that risk they will be put on the list of severe violators.

In broad terms, the first step to not making the list is having a genuine concern for your employees and the second part to the equation is to not have an employee incident.  More specifically, there are four criteria that will place an organization on the list. Those four criteria are:

  1. An inspection related to a fatality or catastrophe in which there are several willful OSHA compliance violations.

  2. Any inspection of what is classified as a “High-emphasis Hazard” that reveals two or more willful violations of compliance require enforcement.

  3. Any OSHA inspection of a highly hazardous chemical process that results in discovery of willful violations that will require enforcement protocols.

  4. Any individual citation for an organization that is so egregious that it present immanent harm and must be escalated to handling under SVEP protocols. (www.osha.gov, 2014)

In the event that there is an employee accident, respond quickly, responsibly, and decisively.  Any organization that does not execute these actions and has an incident will make the list. To minimize the chances of workers getting injured, you should sign them up for the osha 10 hour course.

Violators

The program for severe violations of safety is very intense and consequential.  Failure to comply with any of the corrective measures required by OSHA will result in the immediate shut down of the organization in part or as a whole, depending on the circumstances of the violation and the company’s response to the SVEP compliance requirements.  Failure to comply in one area may result in an organization-wide microscopic inspection to determine the character of the safety program in its entirety.

If the inspection then reveals a system-wide failure to implement safety protocols and the company has the potential for immanent harm or has a history of significant injuries, that organization will be subject to the full regulatory power of the agency which can result in fines, shut downs, or possible government assumption of management duties  through court action.  The OSHA SVEP has the power to establish regulations that the court can enforce.

The court can require that a third party organization or new position be created within the company on a permanent basis to ensure that compliance is maintained.  While some sort of settlement of violations is reached, the micromanagement of the federal government will be intense and can span across the entire United States of America if your business is national.  Plans for compliance can also be strictly local with state oversight depending on how your particular state and the federal government have shared responsibility for implementation of OSHA standards.

Your Responsibility

As a business owner, your number one responsibility is to have an actively managed program dedicated for the safety and health of employees.  Employee safety has to be specifically addressed as a part of business and must be a significant component of the organizational culture.  There is no single policy that will work for every company.  Any policy in place must evaluate the hazards of that specific risk environment and match the policies and practices accordingly while simultaneously considering the requirements of OSHA.  While it is the natural cynical view to believe that the government is out to get your business, the reality is that the government doesn’t have to create reasons to fine people.

There are approximately 2200 inspectors working for OSHA who are responsible for over 130 million employees at over 8 million worksites. (www.osha.gov,2014)  To avoid being on the list, consistently review your safety policies and make sure they reflect the current posture of your business and that the policies are being enforced.  Do not rely on your own knowledge and experience as the sole source of expertise for policy making.

Make use of the OSHA guidelines, state guidelines, and safety best practices of your industry.  The most interesting and perhaps telling word of the four criteria for SVEP oversight is willfulness.  You have to have disregard for the importance of safety in some form to fall under the extreme scrutiny of OSHA’s most intense program.  Again, it is the demonstration of genuine care through policymaking and worksite management, for the benefit of your employees, that will help keep you from ever experiencing the enforcement authority of the OSHA body.

https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=DIRECTIVES&p_id=4503#VIII

https://www.osha.gov/oshstats/commonst ats.html

Ray Donato, is currently studying health and safety and related issues in order to make sure he is ready to pursue his planned career path. to ensure his future employer has the best health and safety program in the industry he plans to coordinate his efforts using software and support from www.ecompliance.com. You can learn more about Ray from Google+.

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