The Nuts and Bolts of OSHA’s National Emphasis Program (NEP)

On March 12, 2021, OSHA’s COVID-19 National Emphasis Program (NEP) went into effect. This new program permits employees to report COVID-related complaints to OSHA, potentially triggering compliance inspections.  

Additionally, as of March 26, OSHA began targeting programmed inspections in industries that pose the greatest risk of exposure to workers. If an employer does business in a state with its own State Plan, that state has until May 12 to accept or reject adaptation of OSHA’s NEP.

Targeted Industries and Employee Protection

The NEP states in Appendix A and B that the program’s priorities are in industries and establishments where workers may be subject to increased potential exposure to COVID-19.  

The program also ensures employers in these industries are not subjecting employees to retaliation upon reporting and provides anti-retaliation information through OSHA’s Whistleblower Protection Program during inspections.

Inspections and Guidelines

There are three types of inspections deployed as a part of the NEP, these include:

      *Employers participating in cooperative programs may be exempt from programmed inspections.

OSHA encourages employers to implement a COVID-19 Prevention Program. While this program may overlap with other relevant programs (i.e., PPE, Respiratory Protection), it should address the following specific elements:

Additionally, there are some basic considerations to address as well:


Talk to a trusted RCM&D advisor today with any questions on OSHA’s new National Emphasis Program.