The SVEP initiative is aimed at stricter enforcement and more stringent penalties to those who willfully and repeatedly place their workers in harm''s way by consistently failing to comply with OSHA rules and regulations, the release stated.
According to the release, an employer who qualifies for the SVEP will find its worksite subject to increased inspections, which would extend to other worksites owned by the employer where similar violations might exist, and mandatory follow-up inspections of all worksites involved.
The average penalty is expected to increase from the current $1,000 to between $3,000 and $4,000, a figure which will be determined as OSHA conducts extensive outreach into the issue, the release noted.
Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for OSHA, said: "Although we are making significant adjustments in our penalty policy within the tight constraints of our law, this administrative effort is no substitute for the meaningful and substantial penalty changes included in the Protecting America''s Workers Act (PAWA)."
If passed, PAWA would increase OSHA penalties from $7,000 to $12,000 for a serious violation and from $70,000 to $250,000 for a willful violation; the act would also tie future penalty increases to inflation, the release added.
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