OSHA Work Safety Procedures

OSHA Safe Work Practices

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that is tasked with protecting workers from violations of safety, health, and labor regulations in the workplace. It was created in 1970 and remains a vital part of keeping Americans safe and protecting workers’ rights.

If a workplace accident happens, it’s possible that OSHA could become involved. While most employers comply with OSHA regulations, failure to do so could result in fines and serve as proof of negligence after a worker has been seriously hurt or even killed.

What Does OSHA Do?

OSHA plays several essential roles in keeping workplaces safe for Americans. Some of the functions it performs include:

  • Establishes Safety and Health Standards— One of OSHA’s primary roles is to establish health and safety standards in the workplace that address different industries, work environments, and hazards.
  • Inspects Job Sites— OSHA inspects various job sites that are required to comply with its standards and may penalize those that fail to meet them.
  • Trains Workers and Upholds Safety Standards— The agency develops training programs for employers and workers to improve workplace safety.
  • Investigates Workplace Accidents— OSHA records accidents and may investigate and analyze a workplace accident.
  • Conducts Research— The agency researches trends in workplace safety and health to ensure its regulations remain current and effective.
  • Protects Workers’ Rights— If an employee is injured due to an OSHA violation or is denied certain rights by an employer, the agency can investigate the matter and take action.

OSHA’s General Duty Clause

OSHA has created a variety of regulations that apply to specific industries, such as construction and maritime. But one of the most important parts of OSHA’s regulations is the General Duty clause, which imposes three specific duties on U.S. employers:

  1. Maintain conditions and/or employ practices that are reasonably necessary to protect employees on the job.
  2. Be familiar with the safety standards that are applicable to a specific business or industry.
  3. Regulate and promote employee use of all appropriate safety equipment.

Going beyond the General Duty clause, OSHA has specific regulations and safety standards that involve:

  • Fall Protection
  • Scaffolding
  • Hazard Communication
  • Electrical Wiring
  • Respiratory Protection
  • Lockout/Tagout
  • Ladders
  • Machinery and Machine Guarding
  • Fire Protection

OSHA Safe Work Practices

OSHA regulations apply to all businesses unless they are excluded. Some examples of excluded businesses include churches, governmental bodies, and the self-employed. Employers should follow a set of best practices to maintain OSHA compliance.

  1. Post OSHA Information

The Occupational Safety and Health Act guarantees that workers will be informed about their responsibilities and rights in the workplace. Instead of leaving this up to chance, employers can simply post OSHA’s free workplace posters someplace that is highly visible and accessible.

  1. Train All Staff

Managers and workers alike need training on proper safety practices to avoid accidents and recognize hazards in the workplace. OSHA recommends that all workers receive proper training that covers applicable workplace hazards, using PPE, and what to do after an accident.

  1. Be Proactive

Central to OSHA’s safe work practices is the idea of being proactive. Employers should self-inspect often so that they have a thorough understanding of their work environment. OSHA even provides checklist employers can use to simplify this process.

  1. Prepare for Inspection

Even if you train your staff and are proactive, you should still be prepared for OSHA to show up at your workplace for inspections. These might be random inspections, visits in response to a report, or something that is triggered by an industrial accident.

  1. Prevent and Control Hazards

Employers should both prevent and control any hazards in the workplace. By addressing various risks, an employer may be able to eliminate a hazard. If it can’t be eliminated, it can be minimized so that accidents are less likely.

  1. Communicate Any Hazards

When any workplace hazards do exist that can’t be eliminated, an employer has a duty to inform workers of them. For example, workers have a right to know about hazardous chemicals on a job site or a gaping hole in a walkway.

  1. Report Accidents and Keep Records

If an accident does happen, employers should keep detailed records. When a worker is killed, or three or more workers are hospitalized, OSHA must be informed within eight hours of the incident.

Learn More About OSHA’s Safe Work Practices

OSHA’s standards were developed to protect the health and safety of workers, not to increase costs or make things harder for businesses. Without them, the level of industrial accidents, injuries, and deaths would be even more tragic than they already are.

Most employers in the U.S. are subject to OSHA’s standards, meaning employees have the right to a safe workplace. If you’ve been injured at work and would like more information about OSHA’s safe work practices, OSHA Injury Attorney can help.

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