There may be some good news regarding OSHA’s new National Emphasis Program (NEP) on enforcing worker protections against COVID-19. Despite the Office of the Inspector General’s February 2021 recommendation that OSHA promulgate an Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) on COVID-19, it appears that the agency will postpone development of an ETS in favor of the NEP. Here’s what you should know about the NEP to protect your company from OSHA citations.
NEP INSPECTION TYPES
- OSHA’s primary emphasis will be on unprogrammed inspections triggered by
2nd Complaints; and/or
- OSHA’s secondary emphasis will be on programmed inspections.
- There are two tiers of “high risk” employers being targeted by OSHA, Primary Target Industries and Secondary Target Industries.
- The agency’s emphasis concerning programmed inspections first will be on Primary Target Industries, such as dental care, hospitals, health care, nursing homes, ambulance services, etc.
- Construction falls into the Secondary Target Industries category along with agriculture, manufacturing, and certain types of transportation.
Programmed Inspections in Construction
Programmed inspection locations will be selected randomly from a list of construction worksites (F.W. Dodge Reports). The emphasis will be on larger projects that are 30% to 60% complete.
What Compliance Officers Will be Looking to Find
OSHA compliance officers will be looking for obvious signs of non-compliance with the agency’s February 2021 COVID-19 Guidance to Prevent the Spread in the Workplace (MCAA Summary). MCAA urges you to pay close attention to your:
- Prevention Programs;
- Return to Work Criteria;
- Social Distancing Measures;
- Engineering Controls;
- Face Coverings and PPE; and
- Sanitization, Cleaning, and Disinfecting Practices.
- General Duty Clause
- Respiratory Protection Standard
- Personal Protective Equipment Standards