On July 13, 2023, Federal OSHA announced the launch of a National Emphasis Program (NEP) on Warehousing and Distribution Center Operations to protect workers from injuries related to hazards common to those industries, which include powered industrial vehicle operations, material handling/storage, walking-working surfaces, means of egress, and fire protection.
On September 11, 2023, Nevada OSHA adopted the NEP in a modified form to reflect Nevada specific injury and illness data. Nevada OSHA will conduct outreach for 90 days from September 25, 2023, to December 24, 2023, prior to initiating inspections under this NEP. This NEP shall remain effective until cancelled or modified by a change to the Federal NEP.
Federal OSHA has reported that warehousing and distribution centers have experienced growth within the past ten years. From January 2011 to December 2021, the warehousing and distribution centers industry experienced an increase in employment from 668,900 in 2011 to 1,713,900 in 2021. At the same time, the warehousing and distribution center industry has experienced high occupational injuries and illness rates. From 2017 through 2021, the five-year average in Days Away Restricted or Transferred (DART) rates in establishments associated with warehousing and distribution center operations, mail processing and distribution centers, couriers/express delivery services, and local messengers and local delivery industries, were significantly higher than the baseline private general industry rates.
Currently, Nevada OSHA focuses its programmed inspections in the General Warehousing and Storage industries (NAICS 493xxx) through its Programmed Inspection Plan (PIP). As part of this NEP, Nevada OSHA’s PIP will now include the following industries: Couriers and Express Delivery Services (NAICS 492110), and high injury rate retail establishments such as Supermarkets and Other Grocery Stores (44511x), and Warehouse Clubs and Supercenters (452311). Injury and illness data within these industries specific to Nevada indicate that they are experiencing higher nonfatal injury and illness rates than the average rate in all private industries, which warrants Nevada OSHA to focus its enforcement efforts on these industries.
Inspections of employers within industries that fall under this NEP will focus on hazards associated with powered industrial vehicles operations (i.e., forklifts, etc.), material handling/storage (e.g., storage racks), walking-working surfaces (e.g., work performed on/or around loading docks), means of egress, and fire protection. Heat and ergonomic hazards will also be considered and documented during each inspection under this NEP.
Partial inspections will be conducted at high injury rate retail establishments that fall under this NEP and shall cover the loading and storage areas of these establishments. Nevada OSHA may expand the scope of the partial inspection when there is evidence (e.g., injuries or illnesses recorded in both OSHA forms 300 and 301, employee statements, or “plain view” observations) that violative conditions may be found in other areas of that establishment.