On July 7, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) revised its national emphasis program (NEP) for COVID-19. The revised NEP adjusts the targeted industries to those most at risk for COVID-19 exposure but still includes health care and non-healthcare, such as meat and poultry processing.
The original NEP was launched on March 12, 2021. OSHA establishes NEPs when it identifies a need to focus its resources to address particular hazards and high-hazard industries.
The COVID-19 NEP
The revised NEP removes an appendix that provided a list of secondary target industries for the former COVID-19 NEP. Inspections in non-health care establishments will follow procedure outlines in the updated interim enforcement response plan. The interim response plan includes updates for:
• The enforcement of protections for workers in non-healthcare industries who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated;
• OSHA’s enforcement discretion for temporary noncompliance with the Respiratory Protection standard;
• Instructions and guidance for OSHA area offices and compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals and severe illness reports;
• Assurance that workers are protected from retaliation; and
• References to the revised NEP for COVID-19.
Employers should familiarize themselves with OSHA’s updated COVID-19 NEP, implementing all policies, measures and procedures necessary for compliance with OSHA regulations. Employers are encouraged to visit OSHA’s COVID-19 website for guidance on how to comply with workplace safety requirements.
For a copy of this notice, click here: OSHA Revises Its COVID-19 National Emphasis Program