OSHA Launches National Coronavirus Initiative to Protect High-Risk Workers

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a national coronavirus initiative to help protect high-risk workers from COVID-19 hazards and retaliation. The National Emphasis Program (NEP) will focus inspection and enforcement efforts in workplaces treating COVID-19 patients, including: hospitals, assisted living centers, nursing homes and other health care and emergency response providers; and workplaces with high numbers of COVID-19 related complaints or cases, including correctional facilities, grocery stores, meatpacking pants and poultry processing plants. The program will also focus on protecting workers against retaliation for making complaints about the risks by distributing anti-retaliation information during inspections, through outreach opportunities, and by promptly referring allegations of retaliation to the Whistleblower Protection Program.

The program took effect March 12, 2021, and will remain in effect for up to one year. OSHA encourages states without their own OSHA programs to adopt the federal program. State plans must notify federal OSHA of their intent to adopt the NEP within 60 days after its issuance.

For more information, see the OSHA directive.