The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a “Severe Violator Enforcement Program Directive,” under which the agency will concentrate additional enforcement resources against “recalcitrant employers who endanger workers by demonstrating indifference to their responsibilities under the law.” According to the April 22, 2010, directive, employers who meet certain criteria demonstrating their indifference to the OSH Act would be subject to enhanced enforcement, including “mandatory follow-up inspections, increased company/corporate awareness of OSHA enforcement, company-wide agreements, where appropriate, enhanced settlement provisions, and federal court enforcement.”

OSHA will consider an employer a “severe violator” if an inspection reveals “one or more willful or repeated citations or failure-to-abate notices based on a serious violation related to a death of an employee or three or more hospitalizations.” Other criteria for severe-violator classification are set out in the directive.