In late April, OSHA unveiled a new program to get tough on repeat safety offenders. The Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP), which goes into effect in June, will step up enforcement against employers that have shown “indifference” to the safety of their workers through “willful, repeated, or failure-to-abate violations.” This includes companies like Massey Energy, who after repeated violations, did nothing about the inches of combustible dust their miners were trudging through. Sadly, we know the result of that decision.
Aside from combustible dust, high enforcement priories for SVEP will also include amputation hazards, unsafe excavation practices, and silica dust exposure.
So while I am a huge advocate of educating before citing, repeat offenders can’t use the excuse of “we didn’t know.” And when it’s a matter of protecting your workers who work hard for you day after day, you better straighten up, or pay the price.