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OSHA Launches New National Emphasis Program for Warehouse and Distribution Center Hazards

On July 13, 2023, The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a national emphasis program to prevent workplace hazards in warehouses, processing facilities, distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments.

Under this three-year program, set to expire in July 2026, OSHA will conduct comprehensive safety inspections focused on hazards related to powered industrial vehicle operations; material handling and storage; walking and working surfaces; means of egress and fire protection. The program will also include inspections of retail establishments with high injury rates with a focus on storage and loading areas; however, OSHA may expand an inspection's scope when evidence shows that violations may exist in other areas of the establishment.

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

Inspected establishments will be chosen from two lists:

  • Establishments with industry codes covered under this emphasis program; or;

  • 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.

Affected businesses should familiarize themselves with the program to understand what is expected of them and are encouraged to review their policies and procedures and update them if necessary to be in compliance with these regulations.

Contact PMP for additional information.


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