OSHA Issues New COVID-19 National Emphasis Plan and Interim Enforcement Response Plan
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued two new documents on March 12, 2021 concerning COVID-19 and workplace enforcement.
The first is a COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP) focusing OSHA enforcement efforts on companies with the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law. OSHA also released a news release on the NEP.
In a related action, OSHA has also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods. OSHA will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely. Prior enforcement guidance will be rescinded, and the new guidance will remain in effect until further notice.
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