Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the set of regulations concerning safety at the workplace. This Act was passed in 1970 with the aim of ensuring the safety of workers across the US. OSHA has set out regulations which need to be adhered to while at work. The aim of these regulations is to see to it that the workers who work in a workplace are guaranteed a safe workplace.
Who is required to follow OSHA regulations and standards?
OSHA stipulates who is bound by its regulations and standards. OSHA determines that the following entities are required to follow OSHA regulations and standards:
- Private sector workers
- Workers in the state and local governments
- Federal government employees
Who are excluded from OSHA regulations?
OSHA’s jurisdiction does not cover the following:
- Self employed
- Farm employees and their immediate relatives
- Workplaces that are regulated by other federal laws concerning workplace safety, such as the Coast Guards or the Department of Energy.
Workers’ rights under OSHA
OSHA law mandates worker safety by requiring employers to comply with the safety laws prescribed in this legislation. OSHA makes worker safety at the workplace paramount and nonnegotiable by making worker protection a right for employees and a duty for employers. Freeing the workplace from hazards of all kinds that could come from just any source is the main aim of OSHA. While making it obligatory for employers to provide a workplace that is free from known hazards, OSHA also offers information, assistance and training to this effect.
One of the outstanding features of OSHA is the right it gives to workers with regard to safety at the workplace. These are some of the rights employees are given under OSHA:
- Workers can complain confidentially with OSHA about a safety concern at workplace
- They can receive information about OSHA regulations and have them implemented at their workplace if it is not
- Workers can get trained about OSHA regulations that relate to their workplace
- Workers can receive copies of results of the tests OSHA carries out to identify hazards at the workplace
- They can get copies of the medical records at their workplace
- They can talk to an OSHA inspector confidentially during an inspection
- Employees are given protection for whistle blowing.
OSHA places heavy responsibilities on the employer to implement the safety norms it puts in place. These are some of the responsibilities OSHA has from employers:
- Employers should provide a workplace that is free of hazards
- The workplace should be continuously monitored for safety issues
- The right implements, gear or equipment should be provided to the employees
- The warning signs for hazards should be displayed prominently and these should be communicated to the employees. Those in the chemical industries have to display warning signs that are set out by OSHA and are peculiar to this industry.
- Thorough and comprehensible education and training regarding safety have to be provided to employees
- Employee rights should be prominently displayed at the workplace
- A proper record of workplace incidents should be documented and kept ready for showing to OSHA inspectors during inspections if they demand it
- Employers should mention to the OSHA inspector the names of employees who will attend the inspection.
Coverage of the OSHA law
OSHA is one of the most comprehensive laws in the country. Being the sole law for worker safety, it covers all workplaces under the following types of industries:
- General Industry