OSHA Issues New Emphasis on Worker Safety
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a national emphasis program (NEP) focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at risk of contracting COVID-19.
The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.
The NEP directs OSHA to investigate workplaces that have increased potential exposure to COVID-19. The affected industries include those that have the greatest number of OSHA-recorded fatalities, complaints, referrals, inspections, and COVID-19 violations including:
- Healthcare providers;
- Assisted living facilities;
- Home healthcare providers, and others.
OSHA has also targeted non-healthcare employers with North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes, including:
- Commercial facilities;
- Construction and energy corporations;
- Critical manufacturing; and
- Food and agricultural companies.
OSHA plans to direct attention to other high-risk industries and critical industries located in communities in which COVID-19 case numbers continue to climb, including, but not limited to the following:
- Correctional facilities;
- Meatpacking and poultry processing facilities; and
- Grocery stores.
NEP inspections enhance the agency’s COVID-19 enforcement efforts and include some follow-up inspections of worksites inspected in 2020. The program’s focused strategy ensures abatement and includes monitoring the effectiveness of OSHA’s enforcement and guidance efforts.
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
The business attorneys at O’Reilly Rancilio have successfully assisted business owners in southeast Michigan with OSHA compliance for more than 30 years. If you have a question regarding the NEP, please call 586-726-1000 or visit our website.