Enforcement and Inspection, Regulatory Developments

OSHA Launches Pilot Program for Whistleblower Severe Violators

Recently, OSHA announced that it is launching a pilot program aimed at employers who “continually and willfully” disregard the right of whistleblowers. Called the Whistleblower Severe Violator Enforcement Program or W-SVEP, the program will be similar to the existing Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which includes employers that routinely ignore safety and health regulations. The pilot program took effect on May 27, 2016, in OSHA’s Kansas City Region.

“W-SVEP will focus on employers that engage in egregious behavior and blatant retaliation against workers who report unsafe working conditions and violations of the law,” said Karena Lorek, OSHA’s acting regional administrator in Kansas City. “When employers retaliate against workers who exercise their legal rights, other workers may suffer a chilling effect and fear exercising their rights to speak up. Problems don’t get fixed, and workers get hurt. Employers that act in that manner deserve greater public scrutiny and a powerful response from OSHA.”

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