Even outside of workplaces that pose threats to workers’ health, most United States’ citizens have heard of OSHA. However, if their work does not regularly endanger them, there is a high chance that many individuals do not actually know much about the agency. Those who are unaware of OSHA’s role should be aware of how much the agency does to protect workers and what steps it has taken to improve the safety and well-being of individuals every day.
What is OSHA?
The acronym OSHA refers to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration which was created by Congress through the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Upon its inception, its mission was established for the benefit of working citizens. Through various programs and initiatives, OSHA aims to protect workers and provide safe working conditions through measures such as training, assistance, and outreach.
OSHA regulations apply to any business with employees. This means that any business that provides paychecks to more than one individual (excluding freelancers) must abide by OSHA regulations in ensuring the workplace is safe.
Though OSHA is a federal agency, some states also have their own OSHA laws, so business owners must abide by any specifications presented by their state and federal governments.
Businesses that are subject to OSHA requirements must abide by certain restrictions and regulations. Some of these regulations include posting an OSHA-compliant poster within sight of employees that informs them of their rights as well as educating employees on first-aid and firefighting procedures. Employers must also report all incidents such as injuries and fatalities to OSHA.
Educating employees on safe practices is mandated by OSHA. Dealing with hazardous substances as well as blood-borne pathogens is part of the required training, as is handling emergency situations. The last part of required training entails teaching employees what to do when an OSHA inspector visits. For businesses with fewer than 10 employees, such training can be conducted orally, but larger companies must have a written plan that is available for employee consultation.
OSHA regulations have been put in place to promote a higher degree of employee safety. By educating employees and providing key resources, employers can easily abide by OSHA regulations and ensure their workers are informed and safe.
Originally published: https://stevenlewisweiner.net/what-is-osha/