Think about safety before start working.

What Is OSHA and Why Does It Matter?

What is OSHA and why does it matter? OSHA stands for occupational safety and health administration. If you have a business you need to understand OSHA. Failing to comply with OSHA safety standards can cost you between $5,000 and $70,000 for each violation. In extreme cases, such as when someone dies,  you risk jail time. The safety of your workers is not something to be risked if you want to avoid penalties. In this article, you will learn how to answer the question, “What is OSHA and why does it matter?”, about OSHA regulations, employee rights, and OSHA requirements.

What Is OSHA?

So, what is OSHA and why does it matter? With the passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA was formed with a mission to ensure the health and safety of American workers. As an employer, it is your responsibility to follow all OSHA regulations and OSHA requirements for your industry. What is OSHA and why does it matter? It matters because it keeps your employees safe from businesses that would put their bottom lines above the safety of their employees.

OSHA covers most private-sector workers. Notable exceptions include immediate family members of farm families and the self-employed.

OSHA Regulations

What is OSHA and why does it matter? OSHA regulations vary by industry. Industries with their own sets of standards include construction, maritime, and agriculture. There are too many regulations to list in one, small article, so be sure to do some research on OSHA’s official website for the most in-depth information.

Below are the most frequently violated OSHA regulations:

Inadequate fall protection systems

In the construction industry, all employers must implement fall protection systems. Employers must install nets, guardrails, or fall arrest systems whenever workers are 6 ft or more from the ground.

Lack of respiratory equipment

Employers must provide their employees with respirators when they are working with potentially harmful substances. The respirator must be made to protect against the type of substance the employee is working with.

Not only do employers need to provide proper respiratory protection, but they also need to develop a respiratory protection program. This program outlines proper respirator use and trains employees on which respirators to use and when.

Inadequate ladders

The type of ladder determines which OSHA regulations you must follow regarding weight and build. Here are a few of the OSHA regulations regarding ladders. Portable ladders need to be able to support four times the weight of the maximum intended load. Fixed ladders need to be able to hold two loads of 250lbs.

The rungs of the ladder must be placed between 10 in and 14 in apart. The steps of the step stool must be no more than 8 in apart. Rungs must be shaped in such a way that someone climbing the ladder does not risk their foot slipping.

Lack of communication regarding hazards

Potential hazards related to certain chemicals or processes used in an employee’s industry must be disclosed. All information in the safety data sheet should be accurate and up to date. Employers need to keep the safety data sheets and allow employees to read them to remain informed of any risks. Labels should remain in chemical bottles as well for the same reason.

Issues with scaffolding

In the construction industry, many work sites struggle to keep the scaffolding up to OSHA standards. Scaffolding must be able to support its weight in addition to 4 times the intended load. Suspension ropes must be able to hold 6 times the intended load. Scaffolding must be created by qualified persons and only used as the manufacturer intended. Even if it is not specified in the OSHA regulations, if the manufacturer does not intend their lift to be used in a certain way, it goes against OSHA regulations to use it in that way.

OSHA Requirements

OSHA requires that employers carry out their responsibilities to their employees. These OSHA requirements include providing a safe environment as outlined by OSHA’s standards, conducting inspections of the environment to confirm it is up to standards, making sure employees are using tools and safety equipment as required, using appropriately colored signs, posters, and labels to war employees of potential danger, make sure employees are trained on all safety requirements, and many more.

If an accident does occur, there are OSHA requirements that employers must follow. If a death happens, the employer must report it to the nearest OSHA office within 8 hours. All inpatient hospitalizations must be reported within 24 hours.

Employee Rights

What is OSHA and why does it matter? It matters because this is the government body that outlines your rights as a worker when it comes to your safety.

The number one employee right outlined by OSHA is the right to a safe workplace. As such, if something is unsafe you have rights that should help you remedy the issue. You can request OSHA inspect your workplace and have the right to speak to an inspector who will listen to your concerns.

If you see something unsafe, you have the right to confidentially report the issue without fear of your employer’s retaliation. Your employer can not fire you, transfer you, or demote you for calling out an unsafe environment.  If you were retaliated against, you have the right to file a whistleblowers complaint.

You have the right to receive health and safety training in a language you understand, safe machinery, the correct safety equipment, be protected from toxic substances, and access to results regarding tests taken to identify workplace hazards.

Know your employee rights and take advantage of them if something seems off.

Once a complaint is received, OSHA reviews the complaint and decides the best course of action. They determine whether they should conduct an onsite inspection or an offsite investigation.

Comply With OSHA Standards

What is OSHA and why does it matter? Following OSHA’s guidelines is a very important part of running a business. You have a responsibility to keep your workplace safe and any deviation from OSHA standards, OSHA regulations, and OSHA requirements, is a hole in the safety of your business. Not only do you risk fines if you choose not to follow OSHA regulations, but you also risk the lives of your employees. So, what is OSHA and why does it matter? It matters because their regulations keep employees from dying.

Singer Safety

If you are looking to upgrade your business’s safety, consider Singer Safety’s protection products. Whether you need fire equipment, safety screens, noise control systems, or any of our other products, Singer Safety’s products will keep you safe.

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