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    OSHA role in Worker & Workplace Safety

    Every worker in the U.S. has the right to a safe and a healthy workplace. Since it's inception during the Nixon Administration, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 ensures this for every American - even Youth Workers.

    The act which eventually grew into what we now recognize as the far-reaching and powerful OSHA was passed for preventing workers from being seriously harmed or worse, killed at work. It is the responsibility of the employers to provide safe, danger-free and healthy working conditions to their employees, according to OSH Act, The Act also created an administrative body called the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA in order to set and enforce protective measures to ensure the safety and health standards of the workplace.

    What many employers and employees do not know is that OSHA also provides consultation services, education and a plethora of free safety resources. These include information, assistance and training to employers and workers on safety measures and standards. In case an employer fails to maintain OSHA standards or if the workers believe that the workplace is vulnerable to serious hazards, they can file a complaint to OSHA for inspection as well.

    Get OSHA regulations the way you need them!

    The OSHA Standards

    OSHA standards define what measures employers need to take to protect their workers from any kind of hazards, environmental or otherwise. This governing body has different workplace safety standards for different industries. There are separate safety standards for general industry, construction, maritime operations, oil & gas,  and agriculture.

    OSHA 1910 & 1926

    The OSHA standards call for using certain safe equipment and workplace practices, as well as limiting the quantity of lethal chemicals employees can be exposed to. Moreover, it requires employers to monitor threats as well as record all injuries and illnesses that can occur at the workplace. For example, employers need to provide fall protection, respirators or other safety equipment. Apart from that they also need to prevent certain infectious diseases, trenching cave-ins, and the exposure of the employees to harmful substances such as asbestos. The safety measures also include putting guards on machines, and assuring the safety of workers when working in confined spaces. Most importantly, employers need to provide training to employees for performing certain potentially dangerous jobs.

    New OSHA Regulations: Paper and FREE App

    Other OSHA standards require employers to comply with the OSH Act's General Duty Clause:

    SEC. 5. Duties
    (a) Each employer --
    (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees;

    (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this Act.

    29 USC 654
    (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct.

    This clause makes it mandatory to keep the workplace free of several recognized hazards. This clause plays a vital role and comes into effect when no other OSHA standard is applicable to a given hazard.

    OSHA's Emergency Action Plan: Ensure Compliance for Your Organization

    How do Employers Comply with these requirements?

    The Do's & Don'ts of First Aid Compliance

    What is OSHA First Aid? Compliance can be easy. Non-compliance can be costly.

    WHAT exactly is "OSHA First Aid," and what do you need to do to comply with regulations for your industry?

    That is a big question, one that is often answered incorrectly. The OSHA guidelines can be a bit contradictory. Suppliers will often try to sell you what they offer, rather than what you need, and you, as either an employer or a supervisor, can be held both criminally and civilly liable if your workplace is not in compliance. Medical and first aid issues are the 19th most frequently cited of all OSHA violations.1 As the saying goes, "ignorance of the law is no excuse."

    ...read more at Occupational Health & Safety / OHS online

    Employees Covered by OSHA and their Rights

    Most employees in the U.S. are protected by the OSHA including those working in the private sector in the District of Columbia, all 50 states, and other U.S. jurisdictions though Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. In case of state-run programs, they must be equally effective as those run by the Federal OSHA.

    OSHA versus Cal/OSHA

    One U.S. territory and four other states cover only public sector workers under OSHA's jurisdiction. These include Illinois, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and the US Virgin Islands, where employees working in the private sector come under the Federal OSHA's jurisdiction.

    Generally, state and local government workers do not fall under Federal OSHA. However, if the state where they are working has a state-run OSHA program, they will also fall under OSH Act protection. For federal government employees, the safety and health measures and standards are the same as those outlined for the private employees. Although OSHA monitors and responds to complaints made by federal workers, it does not fine federal agencies.

    According to the OSHA Act, workers have the following rights:

    • Workplace condition should not pose a serious safety or health risk
    • Employees can ask OSHA for workplace inspection
    • Employees can use their rights without the fear of any discrimination or retaliation
    • Employees can receive information about the workplace condition and the OSHA standards applicable to the same
    • Employees should be trained about safety and health hazards to learn how to prevent them from occurring
    • Employees can access test results to determine workplace hazards
    • Employees can review records of injuries and illnesses related to work
    • Employees are entitles to receive copies of workers' medical records

     

    OSHA Safety Violations

    accident-investigation-tileThere are several OSHA safety violations that occur every year and most of them are related to the safety of construction workers. Some of the causes that led to worker deaths (especially those working in construction sites) due to workplace hazards include falls, faulty equipment, and electrocution.

    Employees having serious complaints or suspecting safety or health hazards in the workplace can also hire attorneys to help them file their complaint asking for workplace investigation.

    Conclusion

    OSHA plays a crucial role in workers' safety by monitoring and enforcing (through fines) the safety standards of the workplace. The primary responsibility is the employers to provide a healthy and safe workplace to their workers. Employers must keep the area free of any hazardous substances that can cause injury or illness. Remember that a safe and healthy workplace is the basic right of all workers, regardless of the type of work they are doing.

    See all the Easy-to-Use OSHA Safety Training Materials available! See all the Easy-to-Use OSHA Safety Training Materials available!

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