To properly regulate on-the-job safety for your employees, especially in industrial workplaces, it’s important to understand what OSHA is and how it affects job site safety in the United States. While OSHA’s guidelines are mandatory for every business, they are also a benefit to you and your employees.
What Is OSHA?
OSHA is a federal agency tasked with setting and enforcing safety regulations for workplaces within the United States. By doing this, OSHA creates a national standard for general safety. OSHA was formed in 1970 as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It covers safety aspects such as:
- Working hours
- Meal breaks
- Access to facilities such as bathrooms
- Hazard protection and prevention
- Safety PPE
- Handling dangerous materials
- Protection from hot and cold temperatures
Depending on workplace location, OSHA may have industry-specific regulations to account for unique hazards or needs, such as high visibility safety wear requirements.
OSHA regulations are always in the interest of protecting workers from injury and ensuring they are treated fairly by their employers. In order to enforce these regulations, businesses that fail to meet OSHA’s standards will be penalized with hefty financial citations or forced to stop operations until they improve the workplace.
A more succinct method of communicating OSHA’s intention is the general duty clause. This clause states that employers have a duty to provide a workplace that’s free of hazards that could cause serious harm or death. This further extends the expectations of OSHA regulations, meaning that if OSHA does not cover a specific problem, employers are still expected to address it as part of their duties.
OSHA and Your Workplace
Now that you know what OSHA is, consider how it affects your job site safety. It is your responsibility to perform a thorough analysis of your workplace and business practices right away. Identify potential hazards and ensure your employees have all the safety gear they need to stay safe on the job. OSHA recognizes that industrial workplaces often have “necessary hazards” that relate to items such as heavy machinery. In this case, you are required to make the necessary hazard as safe as possible to minimize risk.