WASHINGTON (FNS) -- A U.S. Court of Appeals has granted an injunction temporarily barring the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from going forward with a controversial new inspection program that is facing a legal challenge by supermarkets and other industries.
Known as the Cooperative Compliance Program, the initiative was set to go into effect Feb. 17, the day the injunction was issued. The program now can't move forward until the legal challenge is settled.
The CCP is being challenged by the Food Marketing Institute here and Food Distributors International, Falls Church, Va., which are joined in the case by the National Association of Manufacturers, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Association.
The associations consider the program to be coercive and a potential way for OSHA to implement controversial ergonomics standards. They are challenging the program by saying OSHA neglected to put the program up for public comment and revision, as part of federal regulation-making requirements. OSHA has said it didn't need to go through the process because implementing worker-safety programs is part of its authority.
The CCP is designed to target 80,000 companies in manufacturing and 14 other sectors that OSHA deems to have high incidences of work-related illnesses and injuries. Among these sites are all public warehouses, which include distribution centers of all kinds and warehouse-style retail formats like supermarket clubs and home-improvement stores. Also targeted are wholesalers of groceries, beer, wine and liquor, and local trucking concerns.
The program is touted by federal officials as bringing uniformity to enforcement of workplace safety regulations while reducing the risk of businesses being hit with violations and stiff fines.