OSHA Launches National Emphasis Program on COVID-19

On March 12, 2021, OSHA announced a new National Emphasis Program “focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus.” The program also “prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.”

Additionally, OSHA also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to “prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods.” As OSHA explained in its press release on the two announcements, the agency “will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely.” The new guidance went into effect immediately and will remain so “until further notice.”