Keeping in mind the unsafe and hazardous workplace environment in certain industries, the U.S. government has enforced measures that require employers to pay attention to the safety and health of their workforce. Did you know the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) could be watching your company to evaluate whether it provides a safe environment for employees?
OSHA has implemented National Emphasis Programs and Regional Emphasis Programs to monitor conditions of certain industries within the United States and come up with strategies and techniques to overcome hazards faced by employees.
National Emphasis Programs
OSHA has launched the National Emphasis Program (NEP), a series of programs that are dedicated toward protecting the health and safety of workers in industries with environments that can pose a high risk to workers. This program has been successfully implemented in all states and territories where the agency operates and has direct jurisdiction.
As of this year, there are nine active National Emphasis Programs under OSHA that cover the following areas:
This program features policies and procedures for inspecting workplaces and handling combustible dust that include metal dust such as coal and other carbon dusts, wood dust, certain textile materials, aluminum and magnesium, biosolid and other organic dust such as dried blood, paper, soap, flour, and sugar, and plastic dust and additives.
OSHA’s Federal Agency Targeting Inspection Program (FEDTARG) is dedicated to inspecting federal agency service/operating locations reporting different lost time cases (LTCs).
The National Emphasis Program on Amputations discuses the policies and procedures to identify and reduce hazards at workplace caused by the use of machinery and other equipment.
This program covers the policies and procedures to identify, reduce, and eventually eliminate health hazards associated with occupational exposure to hexavalent chromium and other toxic substances.
This program aims to limit the occupational exposures in industries that involve the use of lead.
This program has policies and procedures to identify, reduce and eliminate occupational exposure to harmful chemicals and physical health hazards in facilities within the Primary Metal Industries.
This program focuses on inspecting facilities that work with highly hazardous chemicals (HHCs) greater than or equal to the threshold quantities as per 29 CFR 1910.119.
This program focuses on reducing and eliminating occupational hazards associated with shipbreaking operations.
This program is dedicated towards promoting safety inspections of excavation and trenching operations as per the provisions defined in the Field Operations Manual (FOM).
Regional Emphasis Programs
Currently, OSHA has approximately 100+ Regional/Local Emphasis Programs in place to support the safety and health of employees. Divided into 10 regions that cover the United States, OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Programs promote the development and implementation of strategies and techniques that address hazards present in certain industries. Understanding that each industry experiences hazards differently in each region, OSHA implements their Regional Emphasis Programs depending on the specific regional economic activity.
An example of OSHA’s regional implementation of the program is as follows:
OSHA’s Region IV includes the states of GA, KY, SC, TN, MS, NC, AL, FL, and has the following Local Emphasis Programs:
- Electrical Hazards
- Falls in Construction
- Federal Agencies
- Landscaping and Horticultural Services
- Maritime Inspections
- Noise Hazards
- Poultry Processing Facilities
- Powered Industrial Truck
- Safety Hazards in the Auto Parts Industry
- Clean-up and sanitation operations in the NAICS Groups
- Ship/Boat Building and Repair
With the help of National Emphasis Programs and Regional Emphasis Programs, OSHA stringently monitors certain industries and inspects them when necessary.
Looking to avoid intervention by OSHA? It is important for you to sign up for Safety & Compliance Training to learn more about Environmental Compliance and Workplace & General Safety. Furthermore, you should ensure that your business complies with all the safety standards set by OSHA.
If, for example, your business operates in the automotive industry, it is suggested that you prepare your business for an inspection by the agency. You must ensure that you have a safety management system in place that prevents machine-guarding, lockout/tag out (LOTO), and electrical hazards from causing any serious injuries at your workplace.