RM Alert: Federal Covid-19 Safety Program targets certain industries

The Occupational Safety Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP), which focuses enforcement efforts on industries that have the greatest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. These are temporary programs, short of issuing an emergency Covid-19 safety standard, which many thought would come after President Biden's executive order on January 21, asking for stricter and enforceable guidelines.

Until an emergency OSHA standard can be developed regarding Covid-19, OSHA will be focusing its resources on targeting high-hazard industries, including:

  • Healthcare facilities
  • Continuing Care Retirement communities
  • Assisted Living Facilities
  • Home Health Care Services
  • Offices of Dentists
  • Offices of Physicians
  • Restaurants
  • Supermarkets
  • Correctional facilities
  • Meat processing plants

Such inspections will reinforce the agency's previous coronavirus mitigation efforts during 2020 and make sure organizations are following safety guidelines and protocols. OSHA will be looking for compliance and abatement of previous violations. The NEP also ensures that workers will be protected from retaliation by distributing anti-retaliation information to workers during inspections. The program will remain in effect for up to one year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides, according to the announcement.

The Pharmacists Mutual Risk Management Center at www.phmic.com has several tools available for our members, to ensure worksites are as safe as possible. Please reach out to our risk management staff at riskmgmt@phmic.com if you need additional support. You may also contact Pharmacists Mutual Insurance at 800.247.5930.