By: Jane Wu
On March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its new COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP). This new directive aims to ensure that workers in high-hazard industries are protected from the risk of contracting COVID-19. OSHA plans to achieve this through inspection targeting, outreach, and compliance assistance. Ultimately, the goal is to significantly reduce or eliminate COVID-19 exposure in the workplace.
To accomplish this goal, OSHA set out two plans of action:
- OSHA developed two Master Lists of specific industries that will be targeted for programmed inspections with the highest priority given to the healthcare industry. Other targeted industries include, but are not limited to:
- Food and beverage manufacturing
- Plastic and rubber manufacturing
- Metal manufacturing
- Meat processing
Unprogrammed inspections are also a part of this plan of action. These inspections prioritize facilities that have recorded COVID-19-related fatalities or multiple hospitalizations due to COIVD-19 exposure and facilities where workers have alleged exposure to COVID-19-related hazards. This NEP also establishes protocol for follow-up inspections of facilities that have already been inspected due to a COVID-19 hazard.
- OSHA is increasing focus to prevent retaliation against workers who voice concerns by increasing outreach programs and distributing anti-retaliation materials during inspections. All allegations of retaliation will be referred to the Whistleblower Protection Program.
This NEP enhances OSHA’s previous coronavirus enforcement efforts. It is effective for up to a year starting March 12, 2021, and a review within six months. While states are not required to adopt this NEP, OSHA strongly encourages them to do so. State plans must notify OSHA of their intention regarding the NEP within 60 days of its issuance.
Despite each state implementing its own COVID-19 standards, employers should review and familiarize themselves with the NEP to determine if they may be targeted for a CaOVID-19-related inspection. Whether they are on the targeted lists or not, employers should ensure that they’ve implemented all applicable safety measures in accordance with OSHA guidelines.
The DIVAC Standard
At DIVAC, we are committed to upholding OSHA’s safety guidelines, especially those related to COVID-19. In keeping with those COVID-19 guidelines, we have implemented strict safety and cleaning protocols in place in our offices and our warehouse.
Everyone at Doosan wears masks; if someone doesn’t have a mask, one is provided for them. Employees are required to check their temperature and sanitize their hands when they enter the building. All our warehouse employees are supplied with hand sanitizer for their forklifts and gloves. The forklifts are sprayed down before and after each shift as well. All workstations are spaced out 6 feet apart or more, sanitized, and cleaned regularly. Employees are also instructed to social distance and to follow occupancy limits in all enclosed areas within the office such as conference rooms, break rooms, etc. There is a large-scale spray down of the entire facility every Friday, as well.
We’re committed to adhering to the highest health and safety protocols because we believe in keeping our employees, our dealers and by extension our customers safe. If you have questions about how we are adapting to this COVID-19 climate, we encourage you to reach out to us to learn more.