Regional Emphasis Program Targets Midwest Manufacturers

Regional Emphasis Program by OSHA was anounced for Midwest State Manufacturing firms.A Regional Emphasis Program (REP) was initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Region 7 to target Midwest manufacturers in regards to illnesses and injuries. The program was announced on January 25, 2016 and pertains to the states of Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska. Under the program, industries in these states that have injury and illness rates that are greater than the average for the private sector and which have not received a comprehensive inspection since 2011 will be under special scrutiny. The directive states that the initiative is region-wide but Iowa (which is one of 28 OSHA-approved State Plans) is excluded from the program.)

The Regional Emphasis Program excludes those entities with 10 or fewer employees. Industries employing 3,000 or less workers per state within Region 7 are also exempt.  If a work site has had a comprehensive inspection since 2011, they will be excluded from the REP.

High Hazard Industries Targeted by the Regional Emphasis Program

A “high hazard” list for safety inspections was compiled for industries in the region with regard to safety.  OSHA officials relied on DART (Days away, restricted or transferred) rates for the 2013 calendar year as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Those “high hazard” industries for health inspections were created by calculating what OSHA calls the serious violation rate per inspection (SVPI).  This methodology used three fiscal years of OSHA inspection data (FY 2012 – FY 2014).

Those manufacturing industries that were targeted for safety inspections based on the above criteria are:

  • food (311),
  • nonmetallic mineral products (327),
  • fabricated metal products (332),
  • machinery (333),
  • computer and electronic products (334), and
  • furniture and related products (337)

Industries that were targets for high SVPI:

  • beverage and tobacco products (312),
  • wood products (321),
  • printing and related support (323),
  • primary metal (331), and
  • miscellaneous (339)

Regional Emphasis Program To Offer Awareness “Heads-up”

Part of the Regional Emphasis Program put in place by OSHA will be an advanced “heads-up” program to foster awareness in those targeted industries. For three-months ahead of the enforcement action, OSHA will provide an outreach effort to help companies identify hazards associated with the targeted industries and informing stakeholders and employers of the elements of the REP.  There will also be a concerted effort to contact faith-based organizations, community groups and consulates to reach workers in those industries that have limited proficiency in the English language.

Review Safety Training and Procedures

With OSHA’s Regional Emphasis Program in place in Midwest states, now is a good time for those companies to review their internal safety and health policies. Workers in the targeted industries will benefit from OSHA’s Outreach Training programs for essential safety principles. The OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Safety Training Course, for instance, provides an on-line OSHA-Approved safety basics training course that can be completely via computer based training in as little as two days. Workers will receive their Department of Labor OSHA Wallet Card that identifies them as proficient in the subject matter.  Specific training in mining safety principles can also be taken online with a MSHA-Approved New Miner Training or Annual Miner Safety Training Review program.

The Regional Emphasis Program directive states that a “comprehensive inspection will include an assessment of ergonomic hazards and process safety management where applicable.”  Companies should be prepared with updated safety guidelines and training records. Areas such as confined spaces, machine guarding, lockout-tagout, combustible dust, electrical safety and fall-protection should be especially reviewed. All of these are covered in the OSHA 10 Hour General Industry Training Course.

Companies that wish to take advantage of discounted group training are encouraged to Contact OSHA-Pros, for OSHA-Authorized Instructors for their on-site training.