As the United States continues to wait for further information on OSHA’s COVID-19 related Emergency Temporary Standard, the organization has already begun to establish its basis for these guidelines with a National Emphasis Program, or NEP. The program’s focus is on various enforcement efforts towards the virus that has changed our everyday lives, including identifying hazardous conditions and preventing retaliatory actions.
Effective March 26th, the NEP seeks to begin increased OSHA inspection of sites to significantly reduce or eliminate COVID-19 exposure hazard. For employers, this means that so-called “unprogrammed” COVID-19 related activities, such as complaints, referrals, or severe incident reports, will now be responded to through imminent inspections. Locations listed for these inspections include workplaces previously cited for COVID-19 violations in 2020 and workplaces deemed to have an increased potential risk of exposure, including agriculture, construction, manufacturing, and healthcare. While these inspections will begin for most states immediately, states with an OSHA State Plan where the government handles enforcement of safety regulations like California will have 60 days to decide if they will adopt this NEP or implement similar initiatives. They may also choose to continue to follow their own previously set standards.
As with OSHA’s previously established COVID-19 guidance, the NEP is scheduled to remain in effect for up to one year, with the option placed to amend or cancel the program as the situation requires.
As it is a more aggressive push for safety and security for essential industries, many of which include our customers, HR Mobile Services, Inc. will be here to provide guidance when OSHA reaches your doorstep. These measures include our COVID-19 Program and Hazard Assessment, which have been provided to our clients over the past year. Please contact us at (877) 734-7677 for more information on what to do if you’re visited by a state or federal agency.