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Special Emphasis Programs

The North Carolina Special Emphasis Programs (SEPs) are part of the NC OSH Division's five year strategic management plan for which its two principal goals are: 1) to reduce the state's workplace fatality rate by at least 2%; and 2) to reduce the state's non-fatal injury and illness rate by at least 5%. For each SEP that applies to a specific industrial sector, similar goals for reducing the fatality rate and/or non-fatal injury and illness rate are applied.

Special Emphasis Programs

What is a special emphasis program?

What is a special emphasis program?

From the context of occupational safety and health, a special emphasis program (SEP) is a concerted effort for which the goals are:

  • To reduce or eliminate fatalities overall and within specific industry sectors;

  • To reduce injury and illness rates in specific business sectors to levels below the national average for those sectors; and

  • To reduce or eliminate employee exposure to specific types of hazards.

What types of SEPs exist?

What types of SEPs exist?

  • National Emphasis Program (NEP)

    • Apply to all Federal OSHA Regions

    • State Plan States required to implement the same or equally effective emphasis programs

  • Local Emphasis Program (LEP)

    • Administered by Federal OSHA

    • Designed and implemented at regional office and/or area office level

    • Intended to address hazards or industries that pose a particular risk to workers in the office's jurisdiction

    • Accompanied by outreach

    • Apply only to states under Federal OSHA jurisdiction

  • North Carolina Special Emphasis Program (SEP)

    • May be identical to OSHA NEP or LEP

    • Often unique to circumstances in North Carolina (OSHA state plan state)

What SEPs are currently in effect in North Carolina?

What SEPs are currently in effect in North Carolina?

The special emphasis programs in effect in North Carolina are part of the OSH Division five-year strategic management plan. The SEPs currently in effect or added as part of the next five-year strategic management plan are listed below with links provided to the corresponding safety and health topic page:

How does the OSH Division conduct a Special Emphasis Program?

How does the OSH Division conduct a Special Emphasis Program?

Each of the bureaus in the OSH Division has designated responsibilities within each SEP.

  • The East and West Compliance Bureaus conduct enforcement activity targeted at covered industries to ensure compliance with occupational safety and health rules and regulations towards the goal of reducing or eliminating employee exposure to the focus hazards of that SEP.

  • The Consultative Services Bureau (CSB) conducts on-site visits and audits to assist employers that voluntarily seek help in identifying and eliminating hazards and improving their overall safety and health programs.

  • The Education, Training and Technical Assistance (ETTA) Bureau provides outreach training for each SEP to assist employers to identify and abate hazards in the workplace and to learn the requirements of applicable OSH standards.

  • The Planning, Statistics and Information Management (PSIM) Bureau develops targeting schedules for each SEP to better allocate compliance resources and provides the SEP team leaders with updated injury and illness incidence rates to assist them in determining the impact of that focus.