What is OSHA?

OSHA, also known as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is a federal agency that monitors health and safety in the workplace. They handle everything from mechanical and chemical safety to fall prevention and protecting whistleblowers. OSHA is also evolving to meet an ever-growing list of risks, from heat-related illnesses to the Zika virus.

Most employers and employees are covered by requirements under either the federal OSHA or OSHA-approved state programs. There are a few exceptions, like people who are self-employed or public employees.

The main OSHA responsibilities for employers include:

  • Maintaining a safe work environment that meets all its standards, rules, and regulations.
  • Ensuring workers have and use the tools they need to properly maintain equipment.
  • Putting up posters, colors, labels, or signs to alert people of possible danger.
  • Establishing safety procedures and communicating them to staff. This is done by using language and vocabulary they can understand so they’re followed correctly.
  • Providing medical exams and training when required.
  • Displaying the free “OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law,” poster that you can get from the Department of Labor.
  • Keeping records of any work-related injuries or illnesses, and reporting incidents within OSHA or local state guidelines.
  • Posting any citations at or near the work location involved. You need to keep the notice up for at least three days or until the transgression has been reversed — whatever time period is longer.

Check out a summary of the OSHA responsibilities here, and be sure to check with local and state authorities for specific requirements in your area. Then go forth and help keep your team safe, healthy, and happy!

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