OSHA has launched a pilot enforcement program focused on employers who repeatedly and willfully disregard the rights of whistleblowers. OSHA's Whistleblower-Severe Violator Enforcement Program became effective on May 27, covering employers in Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska, and those companies under federal enforcement in Iowa.

"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. "Employers that act in that manner deserve greater public scrutiny and a powerful response from OSHA."

OSHA will place employers on the W-SVEP log if it is determined they have met the criteria for inclusion in the program. After three years, a company may petition the regional administrator for a follow-up visit and removal from the program. At that time, OSHA will complete a comprehensive review of the company's policies and practices to determine if they have addressed and remedied the retaliation and its effects sufficiently. For more information, read the news release.