Official websites use .gov

A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock () or https:// means you've safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

InfoGram

New OSHA COVID-19 Program Impacts EMS Agencies

Posted: April 8, 2021

The National Emphasis Program focuses on protecting workers against COVID-19.

EMS agencies should be aware of the launch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) National Emphasis Program (NEP). The new program modifies OSHA's Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The new NEP targets industries where OSHA data shows the highest amount of workers expected to perform tasks associated with exposure to SARS-CoV-2. In appendices A and B of the NEP PDF, primary and secondary target industries that meet this criteria are listed. Not surprisingly, “ambulance services” are a primary target industry.

What this means for EMS agencies

OSHA will focus on whether your safety and risk programs, particularly your Respiratory Protection Programs, are compliant with OSHA's Respiratory Protection Regulations (CFR 1910.134).

For many EMS agencies, a Respiratory Protection Program is part of well-established bloodborne and airborne protection policies. You should review existing programs against OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard to ensure current practices are compliant.

OSHA NEP inspections will enhance OSHA's previous coronavirus enforcement efforts and will include some follow-up inspections of worksites inspected in 2020.

The program's focused strategy ensures abatement and includes monitoring the effectiveness of OSHA's enforcement and guidance efforts. The program will remain in effect for up to 1 year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.

Guidance for respiratory protection compliance

For agencies that need additional guidance on compliance with OSHA's Respiratory Protection Regulations, OSHA provides a Small Entity Compliance Guide for the Respiratory Protection Standard PDF. This guide is intended to assist program administrators, employers who need to develop a program, employees required to wear respirators and licensed medical professionals who must evaluate an employee's ability to wear respirators, among others.

This 124-page guide is divided into the same sections that appear in OSHA's Respiratory Protection standard. Citations to the standard provided in each section enable you to compare the text in the guide with the OSHA standard. It also contains sample templates and checklists that can be utilized by employers to assist with compliance.

For more additional information and guidance, see OSHA's COVID-19 webpage. OSHA also provides answers to some frequently asked questions for employers in various industries about how to protect workers from COVID-19 and remain in compliance.

This article is based on content in the
April 8, 2021 InfoGram.

View the articles in this InfoGram.

Subscribe to the InfoGram

Explore more articles:

  • Filter:

Featured articles

Current Issues
photo of a man and a woman staring looking at their destroyed home
Current Issues
photo of a woman and man preparing a meal
Current Issues
storm clouds with houses in the foreground
Current Issues
pictograph illustrations
Coffee Break
community members meeting about wildfire projects
Coffee Break
firefighters talking
Current Issues
hoarded items in a home
Coffee Break
firefighters on hose line
Current Issues
child sleeping with mother in background
Current Issues
home boarded up with clear board
Current Issues
fire station
Coffee Break
firefighter using a computer
Coffee Break
binary data with a question mark
Coffee Break
table made up of puzzle pieces
Coffee Break
Plato
Coffee Break
helicopter dropping water on a fire
Coffee Break
meeting of public policy makers
Coffee Break
firefighter addressing meeting