One of the most important things an employer can do is guarantee the safety of their employees. By doing so, they also protect their business or organization. This is why it’s crucial for employers to know and understand workplace safety requirements set by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
OSHA administers and enforces regulations intended to protect workers. To be OSHA compliant, employers must follow the agency’s list of standards, in addition to laws and requirements for certain industries. You should also find out if your state has established specific workplace safety and health requirements.
In our quick guide on OSHA compliance, we’re sharing the agency’s list of standards along with their COVID-19 guidance for employers and employees. Plus, we’ve included more helpful blog posts regarding workplace and COVID-19 safety to help you keep every aspect of your business safe and healthy.
17 OSHA Compliance Standards
As part of their OSHA responsibility to provide a safe and healthful workplace, employers must:
- Provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and follow the standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSH Act.
- Assess workplace conditions to ensure they follow applicable OSHA standards.
- Supply workers with safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
- Use color codes, posters, labels, or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
- Establish or update operating procedures and inform employees to ensure they follow health and safety requirements.
- Train workers on safety in a language and vocabulary they can understand.
- Develop and implement a written hazard communication program, train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and proper precautions, and make a copy of safety data sheets readily available (applicable only to employers with hazardous chemicals in the workplace).
- Provide medical examinations and training when required by OSHA standards.
- Post the OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) in a prominent location within the workplace to ensure workers understand their rights and responsibilities.
- Report all work-related fatalities within 8 hours and all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, amputations, and losses of an eye within 24 hours to their local OSHA office. Employers can call OSHA’s toll-free number: 1-800-321-6742.
- Record all work-related injuries and illnesses (unless they have 10 or fewer employees or qualify as an exempt low-hazard employer).
- Give employees, former employees, and their representatives access to the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
- Provide employee medical records and exposure records to employees and their representatives.
- Give the OSHA compliance officer the names of authorized employee representatives who may accompany the compliance officer during an inspection.
- According to the Whistleblower Protection Program, not punish, discriminate, or retaliate against employees who file complaints.
- Post OSHA citations at or around the area in violation and keep citations posted until they have corrected the violation, or for three working days, whichever is longer.
- Correct OSHA violations by the deadline set in the citation issued by the inspector. Employers must then submit required abatement verification documents and post abatement verification documents or tags in the applicable work area.
Additional ways to keep your company and employees safe include developing a safety and health program and forming a safety committee. Some states, like New Hampshire, may even require employers to do this.
Whether or not your organization is required to, having a safety program and committee in place can significantly reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries. Of course, these precautions can also reduce insurance and workers’ compensation costs and improve productivity.
Additional Workplace Safety Resources
- How to Develop a Safety Program + 6 Tips for Workplace Safety
- Quick Guide to Labor Law Posters
- NH Safety Labor Laws: 3 Things Employers MUST Do
- 8 Workplace Safety Tips for Remote Employees
- How to Manage Workers’ Compensation and Remote Employees
OSHA COVID-19 Guidance
As the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, it is also essential for employers to take as many precautions as possible to keep workers safe. OSHA has released and continually updates its recommendations for preventing COVID-19 from spreading in the workplace.
OSHA emphasizes that vaccination is the most effective way to protect against severe illness or death from COVID-19. They encourage employers to:
- Offer PTO to workers to get vaccinated and recover from any side effects.
- Consider working with local public health authorities to provide vaccinations for unvaccinated workers in the workplace.
- Adopt policies that require workers to get vaccinated or to receive regular COVID-19 testing (and continue masking and physical distancing) if they remain unvaccinated.
- Instruct any infected workers, unvaccinated workers who have had close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, and all workers with symptoms to stay home.
- Educate and train workers on COVID-19 policies and procedures.
- Maintain ventilation systems.
- Perform routine cleaning and disinfection.
When it comes to recommendations for fully vaccinated people, OSHA has aligned their guidance with the CDC, which advises:
- Wearing a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission;
- Wearing a mask regardless of the level of transmission, especially for individuals who are at risk or have someone in their household who is at increased risk or not fully vaccinated; and
- Getting tested within 3-5 days of known exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 and wearing a mask in public indoor settings for 14 days after exposure or until a negative test result.
Visit the OSHA COVID-19 guidance for the most complete and updated recommendations.
Additional COVID-19 information for employers:
- 6 Questions & Best Practices for Employers Requiring Masks
- Can Employers Require COVID-19 Vaccinations?
- Returning to the Workplace? 5 Things to Consider
- 7 Tips to Maintain Workplace Health & Safety During COVID-19
- 6 Steps to Take When an Employee Contracts COVID-19
Whether you have specific questions or concerns or need assistance developing safety programs and policies, BlueLion will help you keep your employees and company safe. Contact our HR specialists at 603-818-4131 or firstname.lastname@example.org today to learn how we can help.
The information on this website, including its newsletters, is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should contact an attorney or HR specialist for advice on your individual situation.