US Department of Defense Expands OSHA Serious Infringement Program

The OSHA Serious Offender Program targets employers who repeatedly neglect the safety and health of workers. To strengthen enforcement and improve compliance with workplace safety standards, as well as reduce injury and illness among workers, the US Department of Labor is expanding the eligibility criteria for the program.

new criteria focuses on repeat offenders across all industries. Previously, an employer could get into the program for failing to meet a limited number of standards. The changes will expand the scope of the program by increasing the likelihood of additional industries being included in its parameters.

Since 2010, the Serious Violators Program has focused on providing enforcement and screening for employers who intentionally or repeatedly violate federal health and safety laws or demonstrate a refusal to correct previous violations. In addition to being included in the public list of serious offenders in the country, employers are subject to subsequent checks.

“The Serious Violator Program allows OSHA to focus on employers who—even after receiving fines for exposing workers to hazardous conditions and serious hazards—are unable to mitigate those hazards,” said Assistant Secretary of State for Occupational Safety and Health Doug Parker.

Specifically, the updated criteria include the following:

  • Placement in the program for employers who have been warned for at least two willful or repeated violations, or who received notices of non-remediation based on serious serious violations.
  • Follow-up or referral checks are carried out one year, but no longer than two years, after the final order.
  • Potential exclusion from the Severe Offender Program three years after the date of receipt of confirmation that the employer has eliminated all hazards associated with the program. In the past, removal could occur three years after the order’s final date.
  • Employers’ ability to reduce time spent in the program to two years if they agree to an expanded settlement agreement that includes use of OSHA’s seven-pillar safety and health management system. Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.

The updated programming instruction replaces the 2010 instruction and remains in effect until canceled or replaced.

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