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OSHA 101: What You Need To Know

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration protects the health and safety of workers in the United States. It's essential for businesses, regardless of size, to be up-to-date on OSHA standards. This can help prevent accidents in the workplace and help you avoid legal issues that could arise from negligence.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safe and healthy working conditions for workers and falls under the U.S. Dept. of Labor. Regardless of the size of your organization, you are required to create a safe workplace for your employees. Below, we will list commonly asked questions about OSHA and the three strategic goals OSHA focuses on to help employers and employees reduce injuries, illnesses, and deaths on the job.

What is OSHA?

OSHA was established in 1971 and protects employees by enforcing standards and safety regulations within workplaces across the country. It also offers employees and businesses training, education, and assistance and has cut the work-fatality rate in half since its initial introduction. On average, 15 workers die every day from work injuries (approximately 5600 workers annually.) Approximately 4 million non-fatal job injuries and illnesses are reported each year. OSHA assists private sector employers and their employees and covers a wide selection of industries. While self-employed workers are excluded, some public sector employees are covered by OSHA. You should be aware of how OSHA impacts your business to ensure you avoid potential injuries and accidents within your workplace.

What Are My Responsibilities As A Business Owner?

There are a lot of factors involved when it comes to OSHA rules for a business and understanding what you must follow vs what you are exempt from as a business owner can be quite complex. It’s definitely not something you want to take lightly, especially when the health and safety of your workers are at stake. Because OSHA can inspect your business at any time, it’s best practice to ensure you follow the health and safety standards set by OSHA. Employers should be familiar with OSHA standards, but employees should also be offered information about OSHA. Keeping your team up-to-date with OSHA standards and providing printed information on OSHA requirements can help keep your workplace stay compliant and abide by the law.

As an employer, you are the one who is responsible for providing your employees with the proper safety

equipment to carry out their job accurately. If you work in a more dangerous working environment, ensure workers have the tools and protective devices that are needed. Providing your team with the proper equipment and maintaining tools throughout their lifespan will go a long way to protecting the well-being of your employees.

What Are the Three Strategies OSHA Focuses on?

To achieve its vision, OSHA has established three interdependent and complementary strategic goals to guide the development of programs and activities for the Agency. The successful accomplishment of any one of the strategic goals will not be possible without parallel successes in the other goals. The mission of OSHA is to save lives, prevent injuries and protect the health of America’s workers.

To achieve this, federal and state governments work together with more than 100 million working men and women and eight million employers. Some of the things OSHA does to carry out its mission are:

  • Developing job safety and health standards and enforcing them through worksite inspections.
  • Maintaining a reporting and recordkeeping system to keep track of job-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Providing training programs to increase knowledge about occupational safety and health.

OSHA also assists the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions, through OSHA approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states. State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states instead of federal OSHA. States with approved plans cover most private sector employees as well as state and local government workers in the state. State plan programs respond to accidents and employee complaints and conduct unannounced inspections, just like federal OSHA. And, some states have OSHA-approved plans that cover only state and local government workers.

Follow the OSHA Guidelines

If an incident occurs within your workplace, there are strict guidelines you must follow. You can read more about the guidelines to follow on the official OSHA website. Within eight hours of an accident, you must report any severe injuries in the OSHA 300 log. A minor accident or incident will need to be recorded within seven days. Ensure you are familiar with where you need to log this information to avoid any delays or panic during an emergency.
Contact Merritt Business Solutions to assist your business in following OSHA guidelines and creating a safe working environment today.

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