How To Develop an OSHA-Compliant Workplace

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has developed a series of standards over the years to address the many safety-related issues that companies face. After World War II, the economic boom led to the rise of injuries in the workplace. Many groups put pressure on Congress to establish a safety administration, and OSHA became effective in 1971.

What Does OSHA Do?

The OSHA Act was designed to protect the private sector in all states. Some states have enacted their own OSHA-approved programs, but they are required to be as effective as the federal program. Federal OSHA inspectors must approve and monitor the state plan.

OSHA offers many training programs, along with compliance assistance, to help companies meet the requirements. The administration has designed a number of tools to help employers remind employees about the dangers inherent in their jobs. Many OSHA-compliant signs have been developed to guide companies, including:

  • Danger – Hazard OSHA Barricade Sign – This warning sign indicates a hazard area that must be avoided by everyone except those trained in proper handling procedures.
  • Exit sign – Emergency exits must be clearly marked to allow for a quick exit during an emergency.
  • First aid sign – A sign must be placed at each first aid station so it is easily identified in the event of an injury. Signs to locate eyewash stations and personal protective equipment are also necessary.
  • Flammable/combustible sign – This sign indicates containers that are filled with flammable or combustible materials.
  • Confined space sign – Authorized permission must be granted to enter confined spaces.

What Responsibilities Do Employers Have?

The law requires employers to provide a safe workplace free of serious hazards by following OSHA standards for compliance. Each health and safety problem must be addressed and corrected. Employers should try to reduce hazards before masking the issue with protective equipment. For example, switching to safer chemicals is much more effective in reducing risks than requiring a special breathing apparatus.

Employers must also:

  • Train all employees on the health and safety requirements of their job.
  • Alert workers on how to handle any chemical hazards inherent in their work.
  • Maintain accurate records of all job-related injuries.
  • Post OSHA citations, along with internal injury reports, for all workers to see.
  • Provide free hearing exams, when required by OSHA.
  • Display the “OSHA Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law” poster prominently so that employees know their rights and responsibilities.

What Rights Do Workers Have?

Workers must be advised of their rights in the workplace, which includes the following:

  • Working conditions must not pose a threat of serious injury.
  • A confidential complaint may be filed with OSHA if improper workplace practices are suspected.
  • Training and information must be supplied to prevent harm to workers.
  • Copies of all workplace injuries are posted.

OSHA has developed many safety practices to keep workers safe. Employers must know their responsibilities in following these regulations. OSHA-compliant training and other tools are available to help put a plan in place so that your employees stay safe and healthy at work.

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