OSHA revises its National Emphasis Program, updates Interim Enforcement Response Plan for COVID-19

First published by OSHA

Photo property of OSHA

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has revised its National Emphasis Program (NEP) for COVID-19. The agency launched the NEP on March 12, 2021, to focus on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus, and on employers that engage in retaliation against employees who complain about unsafe or unhealthful conditions or exercise other rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Based on an evaluation of inspection and illness data, the revised NEP (DIR 2021-03 (CPL 03), adjusts the targeted industries to those most at risk for COVID-19 exposure, but still includes healthcare and non-healthcare, such as meat and poultry processing. The revised NEP also removes an appendix that provided a list of Secondary Target Industries for the former COVID-19 NEP. For inspections in healthcare, the revised NEP refers compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) to the new directive, DIR 2021-02 (CPL 02), Inspection Procedures for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard, issued on June 28, 2021.

Inspections in non-healthcare establishments will follow procedures outlined in the Updated Interim Enforcement Response Plan published July 7, 2021. The updated interim enforcement response plan (IERP) replaces the memorandum dated March 12, 2021. Updates in the July 2021 IERP include:

  • Enforcing protections for workers in non-healthcare industries who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated;
  • Where respirator supplies and services are readily available, OSHA will stop exercising enforcement discretion for temporary noncompliance with the Respiratory Protection standard based on employers’ claims of supply shortages due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • OSHA will no longer exercise enforcement discretion for the same requirements in other health standards, where full compliance may have been difficult for some non-healthcare employers due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Updated instructions and guidance for OSHA area offices and CSHOs for handling COVID-19-related complaints, referrals and severe illness reports;
  • Ensuring workers are protected from retaliation; and
  • References to the revised NEP for COVID-19.

The goals of the IERP are to identify exposures to COVID-19 hazards, ensure appropriate control measures are implemented, and address violations of OSHA standards (other than the ETS) and the General Duty Clause. The updated IERP will remain in effect until further notice and is intended to be time-limited to the current COVID-19 public health crisis.

The ETS became effective June 21, 2021. Healthcare employers must comply with most provisions by July 6, 2021, and with training, ventilation, and barrier provisions by July 21, 2021.

Learn more about the COVID-19 Healthcare ETS.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Governor Ducey Rescinds 25 Pandemic-Related Executive Orders

First published by Arizona Trucking Association

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey today is rescinding 25 Executive Orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic following action by the Arizona Legislature to codify into law many of the policies enacted by the Executive Orders to protect against excessive mandates, including mask usage in schools and prohibiting vaccine passports.

“Throughout the pandemic, we took action to protect Arizonans and their individual freedoms, like banning vaccine passports and protecting access to state universities,” said Governor Ducey. “Working with our Legislature, we’ve enacted these reforms into law. I want to thank Speaker Bowers, President Fann and all our legislators for their partnership in putting good policy into place on a permanent basis.”

Effective July 1, 2021, the following Executive Orders related to the public health emergency will be rescinded:

  • Executive Order 2020-17 deferred requirements to renew state agency and board licenses that had an expiration date between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020 by six months from the expiration date, unless those requirements could be completed online. The timeframe for the deferrals lapsed on March 1, 2021.
  • Executive Order 2020-28 was enacted to address critical demand for nursing home and long-term care facility staff, allowing caregiver trainees to utilize on-the-job training to meet a certification program. This policy was codified through legislation in 2020.
  • Executive Order 2020-58 ensured cost-sharing requirements, such as co-pays and co-insurance, for the COVID-19 vaccine are waived. This policy was codified by congress through the CARES Act.
  • Executive Order 2021-04 required schools to return to in-person, teacher-led instruction by March 15, 2020. In-person, teacher led instruction will continue to be required beyond the March 15, 2020 deadline.

Effective July 9, 2021, the following Executive Orders related to the public health emergency will be rescinded:

  • Executive Orders 2020-08 & 2020-53 extended standard driver licenses that originally expired between March 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020, in an effort to limit visits to the state Motor Vehicle division. An expiration deferral issued as a result of this order remains valid and in effect.
  • Executive Order 2020-20 allowed pharmacists to dispense emergency refills of maintenance medications for up to 180 days, minimizing unnecessary trips to the doctor. With legislation expanding availability of telemedicine, obtaining refills is now more accessible.
  • Executive Order 2020-25 allowed struggling Arizona restaurants to repackage and sell grocery items they had on hand, including items not normally packaged and labeled for resale. Arizona restaurants can now fully resume operations.

Effective September 29, 2021, the following Executive Orders related to the public health emergency will be rescinded upon enactment of legislation to codify the policies:

  • Executive Order 2020-12 was a proactive and administrative measure to ensure consistent mitigation guidance across the state, and prohibited any county, city or town to issue an order, rule or regulation that restricts or prohibits any essential service.
  • Executive Order 2021-05 lifted occupancy limits that were implemented due to COVID-19.
  • Executive Order 2021-06 transitioned COVID-19 mitigation requirements for businesses to recommendations.
  • Executive Order 2021-09 banned “vaccine passports” and prevented state and local governments from requiring Arizonans to provide their COVID-19 vaccination status to receive service or enter an area.
  • Executive Order 2021-10 rescinded orders related to K-12 health guidance.
  • Executive Order 2021-15 ensured students of public higher education institutions cannot be mandated to take the COVID-19 vaccine or submit COVID-19 vaccination documents, and prohibited mandatory testing and mask usage for students.

The following will be repealed on a date determined by the Arizona Department of Health Services:

  • Executive Orders 2020-13, 2020-23, 2020-30, 2020-37, 2020-48, 2020-54,  2020-56, 2020-57, 2021-01, 2021-07, 2021-14, identified as Enhanced Surveillance Advisory Orders. The State Legislature provided authority to the Arizona Department of Health Services to continue requiring hospitals, testing laboratories and other health facilities to provide detailed information and data related to COVID-19.

The Governor’s emergency declaration issued on March 11, 2020 remains in place.

View the Governor’s action to rescind the Executive Orders HERE.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

57% of U.S. adults want masks required for all onsite workers

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication

Alexandria, VA — About 6 out of 10 U.S. adults believe masks should be a requirement for workers at onsite locations, even if those workers are fully vaccinated, according to the results of a recent Harris Poll survey commissioned by the American Staffing Association.

The Workforce Monitor online survey of 2,066 adults 18 and older was conducted June 10-14. Participants were asked for their opinions on worker behaviors and concerns as COVID-19 cases decrease nationally.

As more employers bring employees back to physical locations, 57% of respondents said onsite workers should be required to wear a mask – even if they’re vaccinated. Nearly two-thirds said workers have a right to know if their colleagues have received the COVID-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, 60% said it’s no one’s business if they’ve received the vaccine.

Broken down by race/ethnicity, Black (70%) and Hispanic/Latino (64%) respondents were most likely to believe masks should be required, while 50% of Whites/Caucasians reported the same.

Regionally, 61% of respondents in the West and Northeast said workers should be required to wear masks. The lowest percentage was in the Midwest (52%). The survey results show that 74% of those in the Northeast said employees should have the right to know if colleagues are vaccinated.

“As brick-and-mortar workplaces reopen, workers are anxious about being around their colleagues once again,” ASA President and CEO Richard Wahlquist said in a June 24 press release. “Employers must clearly communicate what steps they are taking to make their workplaces safe for their employees as they reopen.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

OSHA launches program to protect high-risk workers from coronavirus, focuses on employers that retaliate against workers with safety concerns

First published by OSHA

WASHINGTON, DC – In response to President Biden’s executive order on protecting worker health and safety, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched a national emphasis program focusing enforcement efforts on companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus. The program also prioritizes employers that retaliate against workers for complaints about unsafe or unhealthy conditions, or for exercising other rights protected by federal law.

“This deadly pandemic has taken a staggering toll on U.S. workers and their families. We have a moral obligation to do what we can to protect workers, especially for the many who have no other protection,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health Jim Frederick. “This program seeks to substantially reduce or eliminate coronavirus exposure for workers in companies where risks are high, and to protect workers who raise concerns that their employer is failing to protect them from the risks of exposure.”

NEP inspections will enhance the agency’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 one year from its issuance date, though OSHA has the flexibility to amend or cancel the program as the pandemic subsides.

“With more people being vaccinated and the number of infections trending down, we know there is light at the end of the tunnel. But until we are past this pandemic workers deserve a Labor Department that is looking out for their health,” added Frederick.

OSHA state plans have adopted varying requirements to protect employees from coronavirus, and OSHA knows many of them have implemented enforcement programs similar to this NEP. While it does not require it, OSHA strongly encourages the rest to adopt this NEP. State plans must notify federal OSHA of their intention to adopt the NEP within 60 days after its issuance.

In a related action, OSHA has also updated its Interim Enforcement Response Plan to prioritize the use of on-site workplace inspections where practical, or a combination of on-site and remote methods. OSHA will only use remote-only inspections if the agency determines that on-site inspections cannot be performed safely. On March 18, 2021, OSHA will rescind the May 26, 2020, memorandum on this topic and this new guidance will go into and remain in effect until further notice.

OSHA will ensure that its Compliance Safety and Health Officers have every protection necessary for onsite inspections. When conducting on-site inspections, OSHA will evaluate all risk and utilize appropriate protective measures, including appropriate respiratory protection and other necessary personal protective equipment.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

COVID-19 Update – Resources for Essential Workers

First published by NIOSH.

COVID-19 Vaccine Communication Toolkit for Essential Workers

A new communication toolkit is available to help employers build confidence in their workforce for this important new vaccine. The toolkit will help employers across various industries provide information about COVID-19 vaccines, increase awareness about vaccination benefits, and address common questions and concerns. The toolkit contains a variety of resources including key messages, FAQs, posters, newsletter content, and more. Partners are encouraged to adapt the key messages to the language, tone, and format that will resonate with the organizations and industries they serve.

Interim List of Categories of Essential Workers Mapped to Standardized Industry Codes and Titles

An interim list is now available to help state, local, tribal, and territorial officials and organizations prepare for the allocation of initially limited COVID-19 vaccine supply. The interim list maps essential industries to corresponding COVID-19 vaccination phases and workforce categories, as recommended by the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.

For More Information

For more information, please visit the COVID-19 webpage. To stay up to date on new developments, sign up for the COVID-19 newsletter.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Sedentary lifestyles proving a pain during the pandemic, survey finds

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

See the source image

New York — The average U.S. adult now spends six hours a day sitting – four hours longer than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic – and they’re feeling more aches and pains because of it, results of a recent survey show.

Commissioned by pharmaceutical company Pfizer, researchers from marketing research company OnePoll surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults about changes in their at-home habits during the pandemic and health effects linked to those changes.

More than 3 out of 5 respondents said they have a more sedentary lifestyle now as a result of working from home and spending more time on social media and watching entertainment. About 60% of the respondents said they have developed more aches and pains thanks to the additional time sitting, while 75% of those working from home said their workstations are causing them pain and discomfort. In particular, 22% found themselves having backside pain or discomfort.

Additional sitting and inactivity also have led to changes in eating habits and added stress. When it comes to eating, 34% of the respondents said they’ve chosen fattier and unhealthy foods since the pandemic began.

The World Health Organization, which in November updated its physical activity guidelines, recommends adults get 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity, or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous activity, each week.


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

Please contact us today at 888-758-4757 to learn how we can provide mine safety training and consulting for your business.

Governor Ducey Extends [non-CDL] Driver License Expiration Dates and Defers Medical Card Renewals

First published by ADOT.

Affects expiration dates through Feb. 28, 2021

PHOENIX – As part of a continued statewide effort to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and protect the most vulnerable, Governor Doug Ducey has issued an Executive Order deferring renewals of standard driver licenses with an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, by one year from their original expiration date.

Prior to this extension, the deferral had applied to renewals of standard driver licenses (Class D and Class M) through Dec. 31, 2020. This action will minimize in-person visits to Arizona Motor Vehicle Division offices for older adults and help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

“We are working hard to ensure Arizona’s most vulnerable are kept safe during the pandemic,” said Governor Doug Ducey. “The standard Arizona driver license expires when an individual turns 65, and renewing a driver license currently requires an in-office visit. Many older adults have been making safe choices and limiting trips outside their home — and today’s order supports those responsible decisions.”

Under this Executive Order, all Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board-certified law enforcement officers as well as state government agencies, county and municipal governments, and election officials will accept Arizona driver license cards with expiration dates between March 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, as valid identification for any purposes for which unexpired driver license cards would otherwise be accepted.

For example, a person whose standard driver license shows an expiration date of Feb. 10, 2021, will now expire Feb. 10, 2022.

Any driver may see their updated driver license expiration date at AZMVDNow.gov. Drivers have the option to order a duplicate license with the updated expiration date.

ADOT MVD will continue to defer requirements to renew Arizona driver licenses and driving permits, other than Class D and Class M licenses, that have an expiration date between March 1, 2020, and Sept. 1, 2020, by six months from the expiration date. Additionally, ADOT will defer requirements to submit a medical clearance card for the purposes of a commercial driver license through Feb. 28, 2021.

View the Executive Order HERE.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

NIOSH approves first elastomeric half-mask respirator without an exhalation valve

NIOSH-logo.jpg

First published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

Washington — NIOSH has approved – for both personal protection and source control – the first elastomeric half-mask respirator without an exhalation valve.

In a Nov. 16 agency news brief, NIOSH acknowledges concerns that filtering facepiece respirators and EHMRs with exhalation valves “may allow unfiltered exhaled air to escape into the environment,” compromising the equipment’s effectiveness to protect others if the wearer has COVID-19.

NIOSH notes that exhalation in EHMRs without exhalation valves is possible because the equipment’s particulate filters meet agency requirements, “thereby allowing it to also serve as a means of source control since it will maintain the high level of filtration upon exhalation.”

NIOSH published in the Sept. 14 Federal Register a Request for Information on the deployment and use of EHMRs in health care settings and emergency medical services organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The initial comment period was slated to end Oct. 14, but the agency extended it to Dec. 14.

Noting EHMRs’ low cost, ease of use, and ability to be cleaned and decontaminated, NIOSH anticipates the widespread use of the respirators will ease the demand for single-use N95 respirators in health care settings that are experiencing high numbers of COVID-19 cases.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Are remote workers ready to return to the workplace? Survey explores

ready to return to workplaceFirst published by Safety+Health an NSC publication.

New York — Fewer than 3 out of 10 employees who are working remotely amid the COVID-19 pandemic say they expect to return to their physical workplace by the end of the year, and some groups feel more pressure than others to do so, results of a recent survey suggest.

From Sept. 16 to 25, nonprofit think tank The Conference Board conducted an online survey of more than 1,100 U.S. workers across numerous industries to gain an understanding of employee readiness to return to the workplace during the pandemic. More than a quarter (28%) of the respondents indicated they expect to return to their workplace by Jan. 1, while 38% expect to do so in the new year or beyond. Only 7% expect to return after a vaccine is made widely available.

Most of the workers feel “moderately comfortable” (39%) or “very comfortable” (17%) about returning to the workplace, while 31% aren’t comfortable with the prospect of returning.

When it comes to feeling pressure to return to the workplace, more women (17%) responded affirmatively than men (10%). Women were also more likely to express concern over contracting COVID-19 (67% vs. 61%). Meanwhile, 20% of “individual contributors” and 21% of frontline managers feel pressure to return – much higher percentages than C-suite executives (4%).

Other findings:

  • 29% of respondents have “little faith” in their co-workers to follow proper health and safety protocols when returning to work.
  • The top three concerns about returning to the workplace: risk of contracting COVID-19 (51%); risk of exposing family members (49%); and lack of a safe, effective, available vaccine (40%).
  • 37% said they don’t know if their organization has a plan for safely returning employees to the workplace.

“These survey results reinforce the need for employers to hear concerns about the pressure that individual contributors and frontline managers, especially, feel to return to the workplace to keep their jobs,” Rebecca Ray, executive vice president of human capital at The Conference Board, said in an Oct. 8 press release. “These cohorts are less likely to be involved with planning the return. Without a continuous dialogue, and in many cases, the lack of a detailed plan about returning to the workplace, it comes as no surprise that these workers are more apprehensive.”


McCraren Compliance assists employers in protecting their workers, starting with a comprehensive Work-site Analysis, Hazard Prevention, Controls, and Safety & Health Training.

DOT COVID-19 Drug & Alcohol Testing Statement of Enforcement Discretion for Substance Abuse Professionals and Service Agents

April 4, 2020; updated June 17, 2020; updated September 22, 2020

On March 23, 2020, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Office of Drug and Alcohol Policy and Compliance (ODAPC) provided guidance about the impact of the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) public health emergency on DOT drug and alcohol testing requirements for employers, employees, and service agents.  On April 4, 2020, ODAPC provided supplemental information specific to performing remote evaluations by Substance Abuse Professionals (SAP) and the re-qualification timelines for collectors, Medical Review Officers (MRO), Screening Test Technicians (STT) and Breath Alcohol Technicians (BAT), and SAPs.  As published on April 4, 2020, this statement was effective through June 30, 2020.  On June 17, 2020 the guidance was extended to September 30, 2020.  As of September 22, 2020, ODAPC has extended the statement and it continues to be effective through December 31, 2020.

SAP Assessments and Evaluations

Under 49 CFR §§ 40. 291, 40.293, and 40.301, the SAP must conduct a face-to-face assessment and evaluation of an employee who has violated DOT drug and alcohol regulations.  DOT has always maintained that the “face-to-face” assessment and evaluation must be done “in person” and is essential to the SAP process.  ODAPC recognizes that conducting face-to-face assessments and evaluations during the COVID-19 public health emergency may not be possible or advisable for certain individuals. ODAPC will allow SAPs to conduct a remote “face-to-face” evaluation and assessment while this policy is in effect.

The flexibility to conduct remote assessments and evaluations is voluntary, and SAPs may continue to conduct in-person face-to-face assessments and evaluations as appropriate.  ODAPC recommends that, when a SAP conducts assessments and evaluations remotely, the format of the assessment be documented in the final report for reference.

ODAPC realizes that performing evaluations remotely may not provide as much information to the SAP as a face-to-face evaluation would, but believes remote evaluations are preferable to not performing the evaluations at all.  While ODAPC will not prescribe the exact manner in which the remote evaluations should be conducted, SAPs who choose to conduct initial assessments and evaluations and follow up evaluations remotely should consider the following parameters:

  1. The technology you use should permit a real-time two-way audio and visual communication and interaction between you and the employee.
  2. You should determine if the quality of the technology (e.g., speed of the internet connection, clarity of the display, application being used, etc.) is sufficient for you to gather all the visual (e.g., non-verbal physical cues) and audible information you would normally observe in an in-person face-to-face interaction.
  3. You may only utilize the technology if your State-issued license authorizes you to do so and within the parameters of that authority.

ODAPC will not consider an evaluation or assessment performed remotely as an act of serious non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect. 

Re-qualification Timelines for Certain Service Agents

Under 49 CFR §§ 40.33(e), 40.121(d), 40.213(e), and 40.281(d), collectors, MROs, STT/BATs, and SAPs are required to maintain their DOT required qualifications to continue to act as service agents in the DOT drug and alcohol testing program.  Specifically, collectors and STT/BATs must complete refresher training every five years, MROs must complete requalification training every five years, and SAPs must complete 12 professional development hours every three years.

DOT realizes that during the COVID-19 public health emergency, these service agents may find it difficult to find the necessary resources (e.g., exam location or personnel to conduct mock collections, etc.) to meet their re-qualification requirements. If a service agent is unable to meet their re-qualification due date while this statement of enforcement discretion is in effect, DOT will not consider it a non-compliance for purposes of starting a public interest exclusion proceeding against the service agent.  DOT is providing this flexibility for service agents who cannot meet their re-qualification requirements by their respective due dates due to restrictions imposed by Federal, State and local authorities, and health agencies related to the COVID-19 public health emergency (e.g., facility closures, State or locally imposed quarantine requirements, or other impediments).  DOT will consider these service agents qualified per Part 40 to continue providing the Part 40 required services while this policy is in effect.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with the current DOT drug and alcohol regulations. Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free DOT/FMCSA Compliance Assessment