OSHA Makes Major Update to Severe Violator Enforcement Program - Worksite Medical
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On Sept. 15, for the first time in over 10 years, OSHA announced a robust update to its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

This SVEP update expands the program to now include violations of all hazards and standards across all industries. It would also focus its inspections on employers who have several willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations (this currently includes about 500 employers).

According to OSHA, there are plans to ramp up inspections, as they’ve steadily declined since 2011. In 2021, OSHA had 40% fewer inspections than a decade earlier. The update will mostly impact more fixed industries, such as manufacturing or healthcare, and some transient construction job sites under the watch of smaller contractors.

OSHA’s assistant secretary, Doug Parker stated that the agency’s past criteria was “unnecessarily artificial and were not reaching employers who were committing repeat willful violations”.

He estimated that the changes would add 80 to 100 employers to the list every year.

Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) updated by OSHA

What you need to know about the Severe Violator Enforcement Program


The SVEP has been in effect since June 18, 2010.

Its intent is to focus the agency’s resources on employers whose body language reflected an indifference to their responsibilities under the Occupational Safety and Health Act with willful, repeat or failure-to-abate violations.  According to the 2010 instruction, an employer “qualified” into SVEP by enforcement actions that included two or more willful or repeat violations related to a particular set of standards that represented “high emphasis hazards.”


Related article: Five OSHA Health Fines You Can Prevent In 2022.


Here are the significant changes OSHA made:

Procedural Updates

• Handling SVEP cases.
• Conducting a follow-up or referral inspection.
• Addressing employers that have three (3) or fewer similar related workplaces.
• Addressing employers that have four (4) or more similar related workplaces.
• Handling construction and/or mobile worksites.
• Addressing nationwide inspections of related workplaces/worksites.

Program Criteria Updates

• The Non-Fatality/Catastrophe Criterion no longer requires exposure to specific high
emphasis hazards or to hazards related to the potential release of a highly hazardous
chemical (Process Safety Management).
• SVEP removal eligibility now begins three years after the date an employer completes
abatement instead of from the final order date.
• Addition of a minimum 2-year duration in SVEP that includes specified criteria for
removal based on a safety and health management system.

Helpful Additions

• Sample cover letters: to the company (Appendix B) to include with the employer’s
citation packet; and to the company’s headquarters (Appendix C) to include with a copy
of the citation packet.
• SVEP Employer Removal memorandum template (Appendix D) for establishments that
fulfill the removal criteria.
• Auxiliary SVEP log removal criteria and procedures (for closed workplaces five years
from the final order date).
• New procedures and guidance for recording and tracking inspections in OIS.

What to know as an employer


In order to stay out of the SVEP, here are some things you can do as an employer:

  • Increase the communication among related facilities in the corporate family about OSHA activity at any facility;
  • Be proactive and correct any OSHA-cited condition at all locations after a citation at one location;
  • Challenge and vigorously defend SVEP-qualifying citations because getting those citations withdrawn or re-characterized before they become a Final Order is the easiest way to get out of SVEP; and
  • Challenge and vigorously defend any citations that have a high potential to be repeated.

This PDF as provides some tips and guidance.

While this is a federal mandate, all state plans must submit a notice of intent within 60 days of the initial instruction (Sept. 15) indicating whether they plan to adopt or already has in place policies and procedures that are identical to, or at least as effective as, the federal program.



About Worksite Medical

In most cases, OSHA requires medical surveillance testing, and at no cost to employees.

Worksite Medical makes that program easier with mobile medical testing.

We conduct on-site respirator fit tests, as well as audiometric exams, pulmonary function tests and heavy metal lab work, right on your job site. We also keep accurate, easy-to-access medical records for your convenience. You’ll keep your employees at work, and stay ahead of OSHA inspections.