OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that was created with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It was put into law in 1970. It was passed to prevent workers from being killed or injured at work and requires employers to provide employees with work environments that are free of known dangers. OSHA sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards, as well as, providing information, training and assistance to both workers and employers.
The act is based on certain worker’s rights. You have the right to ask OSHA to inspect your workplace. You also have the right to receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm and the OSHA standards that apply to your workplace. You have the right to receive this training in the language that you can understand. You have the right to get copies of test results done to find hazards in the workplace. You have the right to review records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Finally, and most importantly, you have the right to use your rights under the law without retaliation and discrimination.
OSHA covers private sector workers and federal government workers. State and local government workers are not covered by Federal OSHA, but do have protections in states that have an OSHA-approved state program. OSHA has offices in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as well as territories of the US. OSHA does not cover the self-employed; immediate family members of farm employers that do not employ outside employees; or workplace hazards regulated by another Federal agency such as Federal Aviation Administration.
Employers have several responsibilities. They are responsible for informing employees about hazards through training, labels, alarms, and other methods. They are responsible for keeping accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses. They must perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling, that are required by OSHA standards. They must provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards. They must post OSHA citations, injury and illness data, and the OSHA poster in the workplace where workers will see them. They must also notify OSHA of all work-related fatalities within 8 hours, and all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations and all losses of an eye within 24 hours.
OSHA is something that just about every employer and employee is going to have to come into contact with and it is best to be prepared. Compliance Specialist