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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has launched a five-year Regional Emphasis Program for Warehousing Operations focused on employers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Washington, D.C., and West Virginia as part of its efforts to reduce injuries and illnesses in the warehousing, storage and distribution industries.
The initiative follows a 2020 Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) finding that the warehousing and storage industry’s injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers is higher than the U.S. average of 2.7 per 100 employees among all private industries. In addition, the BLS reported 93 work-related fatalities nationally in the industry from 2017 to 202o.
The emphasis program began on Aug. 3, 2022, with a three-month period of outreach to share safety and health information with employers, trade associations, employees and other stakeholders. In November, OSHA will begin targeted enforcement with announced and unannounced inspections to identify safety and health hazards related to the use of powered industrial trucks, lockout/tagout procedures, machine guarding, means of egress and fire suppression. Inspectors will also be looking for ergonomic hazards and other causes of musculoskeletal disorders; slip, trip and fall hazards; risk of exposure to toxic chemicals and extreme temperatures; and other potential threats to health and safety.
The emphasis program will end on Aug. 3, 2027, unless extended. The program supplements the work of OSHA’s area offices as they continue to open inspections in response to complaints, hospitalizations and fatalities.
“With the rapid growth of e-commerce, the warehousing industry has significantly expanded. This emphasis program will address hazardous conditions these workers continuously face every day,” said OSHA Regional Administrator Michael Rivera in Philadelphia. “Through coordinated outreach, educational efforts and onsite inspections, OSHA is determined to identify hazardous workplace conditions and hold industry employers accountable for providing a safe and healthful workplace.”
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