Define OSHA

If you're wondering, "How Do You Define OSHA," it's pretty simple. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a division of the Department of Labor that sets safe and healthy working conditions for workers. OSHA enforces workplace laws and standards and provides training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA has cut the work-fatality rate, injuries, and illness, especially in industries such as textiles and excavation. OSHA coverage extends to most private sector employers and their workers in a variety of industries such as construction to maritime to agriculture, as well as some public sector employers and their workers. This is usually through state OSHA agencies that regulate public sector employers. OSHA does not cover self-employed workers or immediate members of farm families who do not employ nonfamily workers. States can have their own programs with federally approved occupational safety and health regulations. The State-Plan States must have regulations that are at least as stringent as federal OSHA regulations and can have more stringent rules if they wish.

Establishment of OSHA

In 1970, Congress examined job related accidents accounted worker deaths. In terms of lost production and wages, medical, expenses and disability compensation, the loss was staggering. OSHA offers an extensive Web site that includes sections devoted to training, state programs, small businesses, construction, as well as interactive eTools to help employers and employees.

How Does OSHA Apply to Businesses

A company with at least one employee, meaning anyone who receives a paycheck but not freelancers or independent contracts, must comply with OSHA regulations. A small business with 10 or fewer employees doesn't have to submit illness or injury reports, but still needs to follow every state specific regulation and OSHA regulation.

Employers and Their OSHA Requirements

A business needs an OSHA-compliant poster clearly put up in a noticable area to keep workers aware of their rights in regards to OSHA. The poster needs to give workers information regarding identifying dangerous materials and substances in the workplace and training on how to treat injuries from these substances. Every hazardous substance has Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). Get the MSDS from the manufacturers, put them in an area where every employee can see them and reference them. OSHA requires employers to read information to employees on how to find information on treating injuries. Employers have to give workers information regarding protection against blood-borne pathogens and procedures for first aid in the workplace. Blood-borne pathogens training is required for workers who have "occupational exposure". OSHA requires that workers be provided with training on how to handle fires and various emergency situations, including safely exiting buildings and using equipment to fight fire. Employers are mandated to report incidents, which includes fatalities, to the closest OSHA office. OSHA requires employers to make an action plan in the event of an emergency and prepare an OSHA training program to teach employees every part of the plan. Review all guidelines.

Inspection

Announced and scheduled business inspected are are allowed by OSHA regulations. It may be a routine business inspection in your area. It could result from the complaint of an employee. Employers have a right to be with the OSHA inspector for the duration of the inspection or to let arepresentative be there at the inspection. An inspection might come as a result of a complaint, but an inspector can inspect every place of your business for potential violations. There is a complaint procedure and a procedure for showing completed work to improve required by the inspectors. Employers cannot push back against whistleblowers in their workplace who bring OSHA violations to light due to the Whistleblower Protection Act.

The work space must:

  • "be large enough and so configured that an employee can bodily enter and performed assigned work."
  • "have limited or restricted means for entry or exit, meaning that there are five openings, each of which is small and difficult to pass through. Or, that there are two ways in and out. When your operation calls for 15 people to be working in the space, they would have difficulty exiting quickly.

 

Definition of a PRCS Confined Space

  • Contains or could contain a hazardous atmosphere
  • Contains a material that has the potential for engulfing an entrant
  • Has an internal configuration such that an entrant could be trapped or asphyxiated by inwardly converging walls or by a floor which slopes downward and tapers to a smaller cross-section
  • Contains any other recognized serious safety or health hazard.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to meet health and safety standards for their employees. Federal law states that posters with information about rights must be displayed in the work place, and that employers must provide safety training. Employers must take care to protect their workers from harmful substances in their environment. There can be a host of legal issues if you fail to comply with OSHA regulations.

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