Federal agencies Wholesale and retail trade Injury prevention

OSHA emphasis program targets warehousing, storage and distribution yard operations

Photo: MarioGuti/iStockphoto

Philadelphia — A new Regional Emphasis Program from OSHA is aimed at reducing worker injuries and illnesses in warehousing, storage and distribution yard operations.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, in 2020, the warehousing and storage industry’s injury rate of 4.8 per 100 workers exceeded the U.S. average rate of 2.7 per 100 workers among all private industries. Additionally, from 2017 to 2020, 93 work-related deaths occurred in the industry.

Launched on Aug. 3, the REP applies to employers in OSHA’s Region 3 – which covers Delaware, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and the District of Columbia. The initiative begins with a three-month outreach period focused on education and prevention. After that, the agency will conduct onsite inspections to identify safety and health hazards, such as those related to the use of powered industrial trucks, lockout/tagout procedures, machine guarding, means of egress and fire suppression. Marine terminals and shipyards won’t be included in the inspections.


OSHA encourages employers to review their operations before the targeted enforcement period begins.

“With the rapid growth of e-commerce, the warehousing industry has significantly expanded,” OSHA Region 3 Administrator Michael Rivera said in a press release. “Through coordinated outreach, education efforts and onsite inspections, OSHA is determined to identify hazardous workplace conditions and hold industry employers accountable for providing a safe and healthful workplace.”

The REP is set to expire Aug. 3, 2027.

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