2023Workplace Safety

Written By Digital Content Editor Thomas Ahearn

On July 13, 2023, the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) – an agency in the U.S. Department of Labor that assures safe and healthy working conditions – launched a national emphasis program to prevent workplace hazards in warehouses, processing facilities distribution centers, and high-risk retail establishments.

“Under this three-year emphasis program, 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,” according to an OSHA National News Release about the program.

In the past 10 years, warehousing and distribution centers have experienced tremendous growth with more than 1.9 million people employed in the industry. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows injury and illness rates for these establishments are higher – sometimes twice the rate in some sectors – than in private industry.

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. Click here to learn more about solutions to common industry hazards.

“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,” OSH Assistant Secretary Doug Parker said in the news release.

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