The year has seen OSHA back away from several high profile initiatives, but one area OSHA is not shying away from is its Severe Violator Enforcement program. The SVEP “concentrates resources on inspecting employers who have demonstrated indifference to their OSH Act obligations by committing willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.”
According to an article in the National Law Review, there was a nearly 25% increase in companies placed on the program last year. The program is only four years old and there are now 423 sites on the list. Companies on the list face additional return inspections and added charges if warranted.
According to the article, more than half the companies on the list have no more than 10 employees, sp clearly enforcement is skewing toward small businesses. Only about 15% of the companies have more than 100 employees.
This fits a pattern we have seen with OSHA in a number of area. The agency has been frustrated in its ability to push through new regulations and continues to face resource shortages. However, once OSHA nabs a violator, it appears to be pursuing higher penalties and increased oversight.