Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), the largest wireless phone network in the U.S., has reached a prestigious list. Prestigious in that only a little more than 300 of the nation’s companies make it. It has a technical name, but we can call it the OSHA Bad Boys List.
In 2010, the Severe Violator Enforcement Program (SVEP) was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with the goal of providing touch sanctions on repeat or egregious violators of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in regards to ensuring a safe working environment for employees. As of the end of June, about 330 of the country’s businesses were on the SVEP list, and Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) found its way on the list thanks to an incident in the spring that cost a worker his life.
A Verizon worker was electrocuted and died in March when he came into contact with high-voltage power lines. As a result of an investigation, OSHA determined the fatality was preventable. OSHA cited Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) with repeat violations like failure to provide workers with rubber gloves when around high-voltage lines. Verizon was also cited for supplying adequate safety training for employees or instilling safe practices at work sites. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) was also charged with keeping poor or false safety records – in one instance a fatality was recorded as just a injury, for example.
The focus of the SVEP is on inspecting employers that have a record of failure to meet OSHA obligations through deliberate, chronic violations or show a failure to mitigate safety hazards. Companies which are on the SVEP list will have increased inspections and increased fines for safety violations during the three years they are in the program.
Safety violations would be something of a concern for the employees at the company, and would be a public-relations problem for Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) and could affect investors’ attitude toward the company – investors like hedge-fund manager Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates.