Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed in 1970 to cover the safety and health of employees in the United States and all its territories.

Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970

Generally, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 covers all of the U.S. and its territories. The federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) or by an approved health plan and job safety in the state. Postal employees in the United States are also covered by this act.

The Act states describes an employer as someone who is involved in a business concerning commerce who employs members of the community. Therefore, this act covers employees and employers in all fields including but not limited to private education, agriculture, construction, manufacturing, organized labor, long shoring, charity, law, medicine, and disaster relief. The federal government’s employees along with local governments and state governments (who have OSHA-approved plans) have a separate program. The act also doesn’t cover the following: Persons who are Self-employed; Family Operated Farms whose employees are all immediate members of the family; Areas and conditions that are governed by other federal agencies or laws which regulate worker safety; and Employees of local and state governments. Putting all of this into your handbook is a good idea, for more ideas for your handbook go here.

Basic Requirements and Provisions

  • The act requires the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to do two things: conduct inspections ensuring healthful and safe workplaces and set standards. You can see more about OSHA requirements here.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration standards may necessitate that employers implement certain processes, means, practices, or methods appropriate to defend employees at work.
  • Employers need to become acquainted with the standards in their institutions and always eliminate dangers.
  • Training on the use of personal safety equipment is required for employers to fall into compliance with standards set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
  • Standards require that employees have to comply with all regulations and rules which apply to their own conduct and actions or face disciplinary action in the workplace.
  • Even where the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is silent on a danger, the employers complying with the Act's clause of "general duty".
  • The general duty clause states that every employer provides employees with a hazard free work place.
  • States have to set standards that meet the requirement of being at least as effective as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration federal standard.

Personal Protective Equipment

Employers are required to give employees personal safety equipment which will protect them from certain dangers and also train individual employees on how to effectively utilize the safety equipment. This standard is defined in each industry except agriculture. Eye protection, special goggles, hard-toed shoes, gauntlets, hearing protection or safety glasses are all examples of the types of personal safety equipment the Occupational Safety and Health Administration might require in an industry. You can find personal protective equipment here.

Hazard Communication

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration takes hazardous material handling very seriously. Importers and manufacturers of dangerous materials are required to conduct evaluations of the hazards they manufacture and import. The first shipment of the hazardous materials to a brand-new client requires that the importer or the manufacturer must indicate on the containers themselves that it is a hazardous material. Employers are required to use the date on the containers to train employees to avoid the dangers presented by the hazardous material. Occupational Safety and Health Administration regulations cover items such as posting, recordkeeping, and reporting. For more on moving your legal work away from your outside counsel go here.

Recordkeeping

Every employer covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration who has more than ten workers must uphold three kinds of OSHA-specified records of job-related illnesses and injuries and lost days of work. Some employers in certain low-hazard industries, for example in the insurance, retail, finance, service sectors and real estate, are exempt from this requirement.

  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Form 300
  • The Occupational Safety and Health Administration Form 300A
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration Form 301

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