OSHA, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, is an integral part of keeping workers safe. Their list of regulations is expansive and non-exhaustive, but should be followed with every available effort. There are different OSHA safety compliance rules for different industries, so it is important to have a clear definition of what is expected of you and in what way.
In the past month alone there were over 30 citations for preventable accidents, exposures, deaths, and rights violations. The top ten citations given by OSHA in 2014 (according to their site) were:
- 1926.501 – Fall Protection
- 1910.1200 – Hazard Communication
- 1926.451 – Scaffolding
- 1910.134 – Respiratory Protection
- 1910.178 – Powered Industrial Trucks
- 1910.147 – Lockout/Tagout
- 1926.1053 – Ladders
- 1910.305 – Electrical, Wiring Methods
- 1910.212 – Machine Guarding
- 1910.303 – Electrical, General Requirements
There are steps that you can take to assure that you are never on the ever-expanding list of companies that have been cited for preventable deaths and accidents. Here are just a few of those OSHA safety compliance steps:
Know the Specific Regulations for Your Industry
The OSHA compliance guide differs depending on the type of environment in which your employees will regularly work. For example, a noise-heavy atmosphere is subject to requirements for hearing protection. An atmosphere with a higher risk of chemical exposure will require personal safety equipment, literature on exposure, and more. Keeping this in mind, knowing what your specific industry and occupational environment consists of, and acting accordingly to protect your employees, will help keep your methods up to date with new regulations and requirements for compliance.
Check for Updates and Changes
OSHA must update and change policies as the world (and circumstances in various work environments) evolves. For example, OSHA recently made two key changes to it’s record-keeping rule. Some industries have been rendered exempt from written records due to low occupational injury rates. Keeping tabs on changes would save employers in those industries that valuable time, though they may decide to keep up with these occurrences for their personal records.
Performing self-audits (the frequency would depend on your industry, amount of workers, and individual business) can help to keep the goal and atmosphere of compliance steady in your workplace. This includes making checklists, referring to the OSHA compliance guide and following through with any changes or possible weak spots. It is important to keep track of repeat problems and execute a solution to solve them on a long-term scale.
Keep Written Records
There are a number of OSHA safety compliance standards that require written records, including but not limited to:
- Respirator Programs
- Exposure Control Plans for Bloodborne Pathogens
It is important to remember to keep these written records in a safe place and to update them accordingly.
When working to remain OSHA compliant, there are many rules and regulations to remember. Keep yourself up to date by frequenting their site (https://www.osha.gov/index.html) and making any necessary changes and corrections to your current methods.
* All information presented was sourced from the official OSHA website.