OSHA Revises Its National Emphasis Program


Through this program, originally issued in March 2021, OSHA focuses its enforcement efforts on companies placing the largest number of workers at serious risk of COVID-19 infection, and prioritizes employers who retaliate against whistleblowing employees. The program was revised in July 2021 to adjust the targeted industries, but continues to include healthcare as well as meat and poultry processing.

Healthcare inspections will be conducted in accordance with the new OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard, under a new directive, DIR 2021-02 (CPL 02), Inspection Procedures for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard. Non-healthcare inspection procedures will follow the Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan (IERP). Changes to the IERP include the following:

  • Enforce protections for workers who are not fully vaccinated.
  • Stop exercising enforcement discretion for temporary shortage-based noncompliance with the Respiratory Protection standard.
  • Stop exercising enforcement discretion for temporary pandemic-related noncompliance with other health standards.