June is National Workplace Safety Month. And as a safety-minded employer, you know how important it is to understand and communicate the OSHA regulations that impact your team. With visits from federal OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) inspectors up by more than 300 percent, it’s evident that OSHA is making a more concerted effort to come into the workplace. You’re likely wondering how to make sure you are doing everything within your power to make sure your employees are safe and your business is protected. In today’s blog, we discuss the most important OSHA regulations that employers should be aware of.
Key Employer Responsibilities
Under OSHA, employers are expected to provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards. Employers are expected to comply with standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSH Act. In order to comply with these regulations, employers are required to examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.
Safe Tools and Equipment
Employers need to make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment. They need to use all necessary color codes, posters, labels, or signs to warn employees of potential hazards. Employers should establish or update operating procedures and communicate them openly and frequently so that employees follow safety and health requirements meant to protect them and their coworkers.
Employers need to provide medical examinations and training under certain circumstances as required by the OSHA standards. Employers should also post a prominent location within the workplace, the OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) informing employees of their rights and responsibilities.
Similarly, employers must provide safety training in a language, and vocabulary workers can understand. Employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace must develop and implement a written hazard communication program and train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and proper precautions (and a copy of safety data sheets must be readily available). More information about hazard communication can be seen here.
Employers need to report all work-related fatalities to the nearest OSHA office within 8 hours, and all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye within 24 hours. Employers also are required to keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses. They provide employees, former employees, and their representative’s access to the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300).
Employers must provide access to employee medical records and exposure records to employees or their authorized representatives and provide to the OSHA compliance officer the names of authorized employee representatives who may be asked to accompany the compliance officer during an inspection.
Promote a Safety Culture
Employers must not discriminate against employees who exercise their rights under the OSH Act. To help communicate out risk and reinforce the importance of safety, employers need to post OSHA citations at or near the work area involved. Each citation must remain posted until the violation has been corrected, or for three working days, whichever is longer. They must also post abatement verification documents or tags and correct cited violations by the deadline set in the OSHA citation and submit required abatement verification documentation.
OSHA encourages all employers to adopt a safety and health program. Safety and health programs, known by various names, are universal interventions that can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and alleviate the associated financial burdens on U.S. workplaces. Many states have requirements or voluntary guidelines for workplace safety and health programs. Also, numerous employers in the United States already manage safety using safety and health programs, and we believe that all employers can and should do the same. Most successful safety and health programs are based on a common set of key elements. These include management leadership, worker participation, and a systematic approach to finding and fixing hazards.
Learn More About Safety Culture
For more information on creating a safety culture on your team, connect with the hiring experts at Williams today.