Seyfarth Synopsis: OSHA’s Region III issued a Regional Emphasis Program (REP) instruction (CPL 2022-01 (CPL 4)) for Warehousing Operations, that went into effect on August 3, 2022 and “establishes policies and strategies to be followed when scheduling and conducting OSHA programmed regional emphasis inspections of warehousing, storage, and distribution yard operations. Region III includes Pennsylvania, Delaware, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.

Federal OSHA continues to shift enforcement towards warehousing, logistics, and e-commerce. OSHA uses national and regional emphasis programs to target enforcement against specific industries and workplace hazards. OSHA’s new mid-Atlantic emphasis program reflects a new trend in OSHA enforcement targeting the warehousing industry, including indoor warehousing and inside or outside storage and distribution yards. OSHA explained that “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.”

The REP aims to reduce injury/illness rates at the targeted employers “by conducting comprehensive inspections to address hazards that may include those associated with powered industrial trucks, lockout tagout, life safety, means of egress, and fire suppression.” OSHA cites 2020 Total Case Rates (TCR) in these industries to justify the REP, explaining the TCR “for all private industry was 2.7 cases per 100 full-time workers. The rates for the industries included in this REP were 3.5 for beverage manufacturing; 4.8 for warehousing and storage; 4.0 for food and beverage stores; 4.3 for grocery wholesalers; and 5.5 for beer, wine, and alcoholic beverage wholesalers.”

OSHA emphasis program activities began on August 3, 2022, with a three month phase in until November 2022. The emphasis program is scheduled to continue through August 3, 2027.

The REP applies to warehousing, storage, and distribution yard operations, focusing on:

  • Manufacturing: Bottled and Canned Soft Drinks and Water (NAICS codes 312111 and 312112);
  • Manufacturing: Fluid Milk Manufacturing (311511);
  • Transportation: Refrigerated Warehousing and Storage (493120);
  • Transportation: General Warehousing and Storage (493110);
  • Retail Trade: Groceries (445110);
  • Wholesale Trade: General Line Grocery (424410);
  • Wholesale Trade: Meat and Meat Products (424470);
  • Wholesale Trade: Groceries and Related Products (424490); and
  • Wholesale Trade: Beer & Ale (424810).

OSHA will conduct programmed inspections against facilities with these NAICS codes, and will include facilities outside the identified warehousing and logistics NAICS codes where facilities operate powered industrial trucks in other warehousing, storage, and distribution yard operations. OSHA may also expand existing inspections into a warehousing and logistics REP inspection.

Virginia and Maryland are OSHA state plans in the same OSHA Region, meaning that state agencies regulate occupational safety for private employers in the states. The Virginia and Maryland state OSHA agencies may choose to adopt the Regional Emphasis Program, but have not done so yet and are not required to do so.