OSHA Announces National Emphasis Program Focused on Warehouses, Processing Facilities, Distribution Centers, and High-Risk Retail Establishments

On July 13, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the same-day launch of their latest National Emphasis Program (NEP); a program designed to address workplace hazards in warehousing and distribution centers, package processing facilities, and distribution center operations (including mail, parcel processing, couriers/express delivery services, and local delivery/messengers), and high-risk retail establishments. Inspections will begin after a 90-day outreach period and will remain in effect for three years.

Workers in these industries have experienced up to twice the rate of injury and illness over the last 10 years when compared to private industry overall, OSHA says.

Focus & Scope

Inspection under the NEP will focus on:

  • Material handling and storage,
  • Walking working surfaces,
  • Powered industrial vehicle operations,
  • Means of egress, and
  • Fire protection.

Heat and ergonomic hazards are covered by NEP, therefore, OSHA may conduct health inspections if these hazards are present in the workplace.

All inspections under the NEP are comprehensive safety inspections, except for the inspections of the high injury rate retail establishments where they will be partial inspections focusing more on storage and loading areas. OSHA inspectors maintain the authority to expand the inspection to other areas of the establishment to include other topics where evidence provides a reason.

Who will be inspected?

OSHA will select establishments from two lists:

1- Establishments with NAICS codes covered under this NEP.
491110Postal Service (Processing & Distribution Centers only)
492110Couriers and Express Delivery Services
492210Local Messengers and Local Delivery
493110General Warehousing and Storage
493120Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage
493130Farm Product Warehousing and Storage
493190Other Warehousing and Storage
2- Retail establishments with high rates of injuries and illnesses resulting in days away, restricted duty, or job transfer.
444110Home Centers
444130Hardware Stores
444190Other Building Materials Dealers
445110Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores
452311Warehouse Clubs and supercenters

EHS Support’s team of health and safety professionals are ready to conduct the gap assessments, compliance audits, or training you need to address noncompliance issues under the NEP and minimize risk and potential for injuries and illnesses.



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