October 21, 2021

OSHA Initiative Aims to Protect Midwest Workers at High Risk of Exposure to Health Hazards

A new Regional Emphasis Program established by OSHA is intended to help reduce worker exposure to health hazards in industries where previous inspections have indicated that employees were exposed to hazardous substances such as asbestos, formaldehyde, and cadmium. Additional substances associated with long latency periods from exposure to the appearance of symptoms—benzene, beryllium, and ethylene oxide, among others—are also included in OSHA’s documentation for the program. The program went into effect earlier this month and will affect workplaces in manufacturing and service industries located in OSHA region 7, which includes the Midwest states of Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska.

OSHA’s press release announcing the Regional Emphasis Program explains that it will target the top 50 high health hazard industries from fiscal year 2021. The highest-ranked industry on the list is lessors of residential buildings and dwellings, followed by a variety of manufacturing industries. Other workplaces on which the program will focus include dentists’ offices, nail salons, funeral homes, and residential remodelers.

The Regional Emphasis Program is set to expire in September 2026. For further details, see OSHA’s press release and the instruction (PDF) implementing the program.