What is OSHA?
Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
Who does OSHA protect?
OSHA covers employers and their employees either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. State programs must meet or exceed federal OSHA standards for workplace safety and health.
What are OSHA standards?
OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods employers are legally required to follow to protect their workers from hazards.
Examples of OSHA standards include:
–requirements to provide fall protection
–prevent exposure to some infectious diseases
–ensure the safety of workers who enter confined spaces
–prevent exposure to such harmful substances as asbestos and lead
–put guards on machines
–provide respirators or other safety equipment
–provide training for certain dangerous jobs
Before OSHA can issue a standard, it must go through a very extensive and lengthy process that includes substantial public engagement, notice and comment.
The agency must show that a significant risk to workers exists and that there are feasible
measures employers can take to protect their workers.
These standards limit the amount of hazardous chemicals workers can
be exposed to, require the use of certain safe practices and equipment, and require employers to monitor certain workplace hazards.
If an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue
citations and fines.
A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the
date by when the corrective actions must be completed.
Employers have the right to contest any part of the citation, including whether a violation actually exists.
Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved.
Appeals of citations are heard by the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.
Not Covered by the OSHA:
–workers whose hazards are regulated by another federal agency
(for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, Federal Aviation Administration
and Coast Guard).
For questions or to get information or advice:
–to report an emergency
-report a fatality or catastrophe
-file a complaint
-contact your nearest OSHA office
For more information go to:
visit www.osha.gov or
call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), TTY 1-877-889-5627