Signaling its renewed focus on enforcement, OSHA has announced it is developing six new National Emphasis Programs (NEPs). NEPs focus OSHA’s resources on industries, hazards, and occupational injuries and illnesses that need additional targeted enforcement, in the Agency’s view.
OSHA’s Director of Enforcement Programs revealed the following industry-specific NEPs are in development:
- Chemical plants – process safety management;
- Primary metals;
- Flavorings and diacetyl; and
- Oil and gas well drilling.
Employers in these industries should expect additional inspections and take steps now to ensure their safety and health practices are fully compliant with OSHA requirements.
Even more employers, however, can anticipate increased scrutiny on account of OSHA’s recordkeeping initiative. As a result of questions raised by Congress and labor organizations that injuries and illnesses are underreported, OSHA announced it is developing a recordkeeping NEP. All employers who are required to keep OSHA injury and illness logs should review them now for accuracy, completeness, and appropriate certification.
Finally, OSHA is developing an NEP dealing with occupational asthma, a growing area of concern for OSHA and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.
In a recent speech, newly confirmed Secretary of Labor Solis committed OSHA to increased enforcement. These NEPs will drive much of that enforcement in coming months.