Constangy attorneys Steve Simko and David Smith were quoted in a Sept. 26 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) article.

The article, “OSHA Expands Who May Wind Up on Its ‘Severe Violator’ List,” discusses the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) expanding of criteria for placement of employers in its Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP).

“Employers' greatest risk is being cited for two repeat violations at one site, which will happen all too easily. Employers consequently may want to fight the ‘little citations’; otherwise, they may have to face the consequences of being on the SVEP list,” said Smith in the article.

According to the article, “an employer may reduce time spent in the program to two years if it consents to an enhanced settlement agreement that includes the use of a safety and health management system that adheres to OSHA's Recommended Practices for Safety and Health Programs.”

However, “the steps an employer must take to participate in the settlement agreements ‘inure to the benefit of the government, not the employer,’” Simko cautioned in the article. “In some instances, entering a settlement agreement is ‘fine to do,’ while in other instances it would be ‘onerous,’ noting that whether an agreement should be entered must be decided on a case-by-case basis.”

Simko has extensive legal experience in various areas of employment law with heavy concentration in Occupational Safety and Health law. He served for nineteen years as a judge and fifteen years as a settlement judge and mediator. Prior to joining the firm in 2013, Simko was a judge with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission in Atlanta, Georgia for fifteen years. While there, he heard and decided cases in the fields of science, engineering, construction, manufacturing, and process safety management. He, along with two other judges, initiated the Review Commission's mandatory settlement process in 1998.

Smith’s practice involves providing compliance advice to employers on federal and state occupational safety and health requirements and assisting employers with the development and implementation of safety and health programs and policies. In addition to working with companies on programs and compliance, he assists employers in defending federal and state OSHA citations and OSHA and DOT retaliation charges, and is a frequent lecturer on OSHA related topics.

To access the full article online, click here.

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