OSHA Extends Covid-Related Inspection Program in Nursing Homes, Other High-Risk Employers

Nursing homes will continue to be under increased scrutiny by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as its pandemic-era initiative continues to keep an eye on employers with a large number of workers at risk of contracting Covid.

The Revised National Emphasis Program for Covid-19 will be extended until further notice, according to a U.S. Department of Labor news release.

OSHA will focus its scrutiny on companies that put “the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting the coronavirus,” along with employers that engage in retaliatory efforts against staff who say they work in unsafe or unhealthful conditions.


The agency is also temporarily increasing coronavirus inspection goals from 5% of inspections to 10% as a permanent coronavirus health care standard is finalized.

The program extension was prompted by an increase in Covid hospitalization rates since mid-April, with data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggesting hospitalizations will increase “significantly” in the coming weeks,” according to the release.

OSHA decided to prioritize such inspections due to the increase in hospitalizations, especially at workplaces with a higher potential for exposures – that includes nursing homes, along with hospitals, assisted living facilities and other health care and emergency response providers that treat patients who have contracted the virus.


The agency wants states to continue implementing such programs as well.

The National Emphasis Program was first launched in March 2021; inspections for its first year accounted for 7% of all federal OSHA inspections – this exceeded the program’s initial 5% goal.

OSHA has issued 1,200 Covid-related citations to employers, assessing $7.2 million in penalties. More than 400 employees who filed Covid retaliation claims were able to get help from OSHA, with more than $5 million in monetary awards given to employees.

It was not immediately clear how that financial relief breaks down by industry.