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Boost in OSHA Inspections Expected for High-Risk Retailers | Laura Pierson-Scheinberg and Jenna Eurell © Jackson Lewis

​Warehouse, processing, and distribution facilities serve a crucial role in many retailers’ supply chains, especially those relying primarily on e-commerce, as such facilities provide space for inventory storage and assist with order fulfillments. Retailers’ use of these facilities has increased steadily in the last 10 years, with more than 1.9 million people employed in warehouse, processing, and distribution facilities. The growing use of these facilities, however, comes with the risk of employee injuries and, in turn, potential legal risks associated with such injuries. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data shows injury and illness rates for these establishments are higher than in private industry overall and, in some sectors, more than twice the rate of private industry.

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in response to these staggering statistics, announced a National Emphasis Program (NEP) in July. The NEP will focus on identifying and eliminating health and safety hazards in the industry by conducting inspections. The NEP will not only target classic warehouse, processing, and distribution settings, but also high-injury-rate retail establishments, as many retail establishments have the same or similar hazards as warehousing and distribution facilities, particularly in loading and storage areas.

High-injury-rate retail establishments include employers with the following North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) codes:

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