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Safety News: OSHA launches a COVID-19 National Emphasis Program

Effective March 12, 2021, OSHA issued a directive

National Emphasis Program (NEP) – Coronavirus Disease 2019

(COVID-19). The NEP is in response to the Executive Order (EO) from the President in January 2021. The EO was reported to Fibre Box Association members


, along with recommendations from the FBA Safety and Health Committee. The agency also updated its

Interim Enforcement Response Plan

for COVID-19 to conform to the priorities in the NEP.

This NEP advises that OSHA will use targeted inspections, outreach, and compliance assistance to identify and reduce or eliminate COVID-19 exposures in the workplace. The NEP provides a formalized structure for OSHA to implement inspections, including unprogrammed, programmed, and follow-up inspections, in workplaces where employees have a high frequency of potential COVID-19 exposures.

Since the start of the pandemic, OSHA has handled most enforcement work remotely, without in-person inspections.

Under the NEP, more inspections will involve on-site visits.

“The NEP targets establishments that have workers with increased potential exposure to this hazard, and that puts the largest number of workers at serious risk.” FBA does not suggest that corrugated industry plants are among those manufacturing sites that put the largest number of workers at serious risk. However, the NEP lists industries for OSHA Area Offices to use when generating a master list for COVID-19 NEP targeting. NAICS Code 322xxx (which includes Corrugated and Solid Fiber Box Manufacturing) is in Appendix B-1 supplements to industries of more concern (Appendices A-1 and A-2).

FBA will continue to keep you updated as more information becomes available.