In addition to SVEP,OSHA issued revised penalty policies which allow increased potential fines and expanded the time frame for employer history of violations from three years to five years. The new directive places a gravity-based penalty structure in force but with reductions available for a clean history, number of employees, and good faith procedures. OSHA issued directive CPL 02-00-149 on June 18, 2010, and both the SVEP and the new penalty structure took effect in late 2010 for most states.8
So, we can see that, with the new OSHA administration and potential new legislation, taking the risk of non-compliance could prove very costly and a bad business decision. And this is not just for heavy industry. Recent serious lab accidents and a couple tragic fatalities have drawn the attention of the Chemical Safety and Hazard Investigation Board.8 CSB chairman, John Bresland, stated “I believe it is time to begin examining these accidents to see if they can be prevented through the kind of rigorous safety management systems that we and others have advocated in industrial settings.” So, it would only take one serious accident to put you under the microscope.
Make sure you catch the second installment of this article in next month’s Forensic Magazine.
- Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities. U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics. Washington, D.C. 2008 http://www.bls.gov/iif/
- A Dangerous Business. Lowell Bergman & David Rummel and Linden MacIntyre. Public Broadcasting Service, Frontline. January 2003.
- Sixteen Deaths per Day. Brave New Foundation. Culver City, CA. 2009 http://16deathsperday.com/
- OSHA: Beyond the Politics. David Weil. Public Broadcasting Service, Frontline. January 2003. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/workplace/osha/weil.html
- Remarks to joint meeting of ASSE and AIHA. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA.Washington, D.C. March, 2010. https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=SPEECHES&p_id=2143
- Testimony of David Michaels before the Subcommittee on Workforce Protections. David Michaels, Assistant Secretary of Labor, OSHA.Washington, D.C. March 2010 http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=TESTIMONIES&p_id=1062
- News Release: U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA takes action to protect America’s workers with severe violator program and increased penalties. U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.Washington, D.C. April 2010 http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=NEWS_RELEASES&p_id=17544
- Federal Program Change Summary Report: Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP). U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration.Washington, D.C. April 2011. http://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/standards_fpc/fpc_cpl_02_00 _149.html
Vince McLeod is an American Board of Industrial Hygiene Certified Industrial Hygienist and the senior IH with the University of Florida’s Environmental Health and Safety Division.He has 22 years of experience in all facets of occupational health and safety and specializes in conducting exposure assessments and health hazard evaluations.