Understanding and Observing OSHA Requirements
OSHA requires covered employers to maintain a workplace that is free of current or potential hazards and that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical injury. These hazards are also known as “recognized hazards.” Hazards include unsafe conditions, like toxic fumes or broken equipment, unsafe practices, like push starting tractors or operating circular saws with one hand instead of both hands, according to OLO. If you can detect a hazard via your senses when walking through your workplace, your employer is probably violating OSHA.
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Employers should use reasonable means to look for and eliminate hazards, according to NOLO. OSHA also requires employers to provide tools and equipment if necessary that are in safe working condition, to adequately train and supervise employees, and to provide specific safety equipment when necessary, according to NOLO. There are three primary requirements: recordkeeping, reporting serious injuries and death, posting certain information in the workplace, and submitting to inspections.
According to NOLO, employers must keep records of any work-related deaths, injuries, or illnesses and records of their efforts to comply with OSHA and of any actions taken to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. There are two exceptions to these requirements: if you have ten or fewer employees, you must keep these records only if OSHA asks you specifically to do so, and also if you operate in a low-hazard retail or service industry, such as banking or advertising. Secondly, all employers must report any accident that results in one or more deaths or the hospitalization of three or more employees within eight hours of the accident to OSHA, according to NOLO.
All employers covered by OSHA are required to provide the following information: to post an OSHA poster informing workers of their rights and obligations under OSHA, any current citations that OSHA officers have issued against the employer, and any petitions that the employer has filed for modification or abatement, according to NOLO.
Additionally, if you are covered by OSHA’s recordkeeping requirements described above, you must post a log and summary of occupational illnesses and injuries, according to NOLO. Lastly, OSHA compliance officers are allowed to enter and inspect your workplace as part of their general enforcement duties in response to a specific complain, and although you have the right to demand a warrant before the officers’ conduct the inspection, if the officer obtains and hands you a warrant, you must submit, according to NOLO.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2009 there were 3.3 million reported cases of nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses. If you are experiencing difficulty determining if you meet OSHA standards or if your employer meets OSHA standards, consider contacting the Workers’ Compensation Center today (800) 223-1866. South Florida workers compensation and injury attorney Evan Hoffman and his fellow attorneys provide services to residents of South Florida, including residents of Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and West Palm Beach.
Evan A. Hoffman
Mr. Hoffman’s philosophy is "our knowledge and experience is your best defense." He has been a featured author on criminal law issues such as driving under the influence, domestic violence and illegal searches.Read More