March 31, 2021

As a result of the executive order signed on January 21, 2021, the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health launched a National Emphasis Program (NEP) to focus on OSHA enforcement efforts related to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The NEP is a somewhat surprising response and contrary to the details of the executive order. The NEP was the chosen response by OSHA to provide immediate guidance and enforcement details rather than an emergency temporary standard. All indications of this decision are that OSHA did not want to hastily release an emergency standard that was not comprehensive to appease the executive order timeline. The short, one-year expiration could be a sign that permanent legislation (not an emergency temporary standard) is being developed and will be implemented prior to the expiration of the NEP.

Beecher Carlson takes an in-depth look at OSHA’s NEP program in addition to providing state-specific employer/employee requirements below.