OSHA launches July 2023 Program to Prevent Workplace Hazards

OSHA retail enforcement

OSHA’s initiative focuses mainly on processing facilities, higher risk retail sites, and warehouses.

(OSHA) – The Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) –  has launched a new national enforcement program that is aimed at preventing common workplace hazards in processing facilities, warehouses, distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments.

As advised by the DOL, distribution and warehousing and centers in particular, have experienced stupendous growth in the past ten years, with more than 1.9 million people employed in these industries.

The  U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data shows injury and illness rates for these establishments to be higher than in private industry overall. In some sectors this equates to  more than twice the rate of private industry – which is alarming.

Direct OSHA quote

“Our enforcement efforts are designed to do one thing: lead to permanent change in workplace safety. This emphasis program allows OSHA to direct resources to establishments where evidence shows employers must be more intentional in addressing the root causes of worker injuries and align their business practices with the goal to ensure worker health and safety.”

OSHA 3 Year Emphasis Program

Under this three-year emphasis program, OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety inspections focused on hazards related to, but not limited to:

Retail Inspections

The program will include inspections of retail businesses that have high injury rates – with a focus on storage and loading areas.

However, OSHA may expand an inspection’s scope when evidence shows that violations might exist in other areas of the establishment.

Additionally, OSHA will assess heat and ergonomic hazards under the emphasis program, and health inspections may then be conducted if OSHA determines these hazards are present.

For more information on required OSHA training for janitorial staff see this article.

The OSHA Target Lists

Inspected establishments will be chosen from two lists. 

  1.  includes establishments with industry codes covered under this emphasis program. 
  1. consists of a limited number of retail establishments with the highest rates of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away, restricted duty or job transfer.

State plans are required to adopt this emphasis program or establish a different program at least as effective as the federal model.

Over the last few years, retail establishments such as Dollar Tree and Dollar General have shown frequent violations of OSHA standards designed to protect employees from workplace hazards. 

As always, every employee in the United States has the right to report OSHA labor violations as part of their right to work in a well maintained and safe environment.

All staff operating in warehouse and retail workspaces must have completed mandatory OSHA training and received their OSHA 10 certificate.

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