On May 1, 2023, the U.S. Department of Labor announced that OSHA started a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to prevent falls. OSHA states that falls continue to be the leading cause of fatal workplace injuries and one of the most frequently cited OSHA violations in the construction industry.
The NEP went into effect on May 1, 2023. OSHA will review this program within six months to assess its effectiveness and determine whether it should continue.
National Emphasis Program Overview
The NEP focuses on reducing fall-related injuries and fatalities for employees at heights in all industries. However, the program is also specifically targeting the construction industry as a whole and the following non-construction industries:
The NEP establishes guidance for locating and inspecting fall hazards and allows OSHA compliance safety and health officers to open inspections whenever they observe someone working at heights.
An outreach component of the program focuses on educating employers about effective ways to keep their workers safe. If a compliance officer determines an inspection is not necessary after entering a worksite and observing work activities, they will provide outreach on fall protection and leave the site.
Employer Next Steps
Employers should review their fall protection programs to ensure they align with this NEP. Employers should also make sure their programs are implemented consistently at all job sites.
To help employers in their compliance efforts, OSHA has published several policies and resources. Employers can access these materials on the agency’s website.
Article Published By: Zywave, Inc.