OSHA Announces National Emphasis Program on Workplace Falls


All Employers with 10 or more Employees


May 1, 2023



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Quick Look

  • OSHA announced NEP focusing on the prevention of workplace falls.
  • While primarily targeting the construction industry, the NEP’s scope encompasses all industries, and specifically activities exposing workers to heights.


On May 1, 2023, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced a new National Emphasis Program (NEP) focusing on preventing and reducing workplace falls. As outlined in the NEP, OSHA has identified that falls remain the leading cause of fatalities and serious injuries across all industries, despite ongoing agency enforcement efforts.

OSHA’s goal in releasing this NEP is to significantly reduce or eliminate workplace hazards associated with working at heights. This NEP applies to all industries, although OSHA acknowledges that most inspections conducted under the NEP will occur in the construction industry. In addition to the construction industry, the NEP will target activities including, but not limited to, rooftop mechanical work/maintenance, utility line work/maintenance, arborist/tree trimming, holiday light installation, road sign maintenance, power washing buildings, gutter cleaning, chimney cleaning, window cleaning, and communication towers.

Inspections within the scope of the NEP will include two categories: (1) programmed inspections; and (2) self-referrals. Programmed inspections will be scheduled based upon neutral selection criteria from both construction and targeted non-construction activities. Fall hazard referrals that are brought to the attention of the Area Office will be evaluated, and, if appropriate, inspected. Additionally, Compliance Safety and Health Officers are authorized to initiate inspections whenever they observe activity within the scope of the NEP, meaning anytime they observe someone working at height. Employers should keep in mind that while such inspections are initially limited to evaluating worker exposure to hazards associated with falls, a CSHO may expand the scope of a fall-related inspection if injury and illness records, plain view hazards or employee interviews indicate other potential safety and health hazards or violations at the worksite.

Under the NEP, state OSHA Plans have until June 30, 2023, to notify OSHA whether they intend to adopt the NEP or already have in place policies and procedures that are identical to or at least as effective as the federal OSHA program, with final adoption to be accomplished within 2 months of the NEP’s effective date.

Employers, specifically those in the construction industry and those performing other targeted activities, should prepare for increased fall-related inspections and enforcement efforts.


Action Items

  1. Review OSHA’s full NEP on workplace falls here.
  2. Review existing policies and procedures for reducing or eliminating workplace hazards, specifically related to workplace falls.
  3. Develop and implement a plan to reduce the risk of exposing employees to fall-related hazards in the workplace.
  4. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser. © 2023 ManagEase