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Why Is OSHA Important in the Workplace?

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By now, you’re certainly familiar with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), but you might not understand the depths of its importance. Founded with the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA was established to create and enforce workplace safety standards. The Agency achieves this by affording training, outreach, education and assistance to both companies and workers.

OSH Act of 1970

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was instituted to keep workers from being killed or seriously injured at their place of work. Most private sector employers and their employees in the U.S. and related territories are covered by this legislation. OSHA coverage is either provided by the Federal OSHA or by an OSHA-approved state plan.

The OSH Act has two regulatory functions — setting standards and conducting inspections to make sure employers are creating and maintaining safe and healthy workspaces. Adherence to OSHA standards may mean that employers must follow certain practices, means, methods, and processes to keep workers safe. Employers are required to comply with all relevant OSHA standards to give employees a safe and healthy workspace free of serious hazards.

Employer Rights and Responsibilities

OSHA has created strict guidelines for employers to follow to keep employees safe. A few of these include:

  • Locating and correcting all health and safety hazards.
  • Training employees to recognize chemical hazards.
  • Notifying OSHA of a workplace fatality within 8 hours or within 24 hours of a work-related inpatient hospitalization incident.
  • Providing workers with free personal protective equipment — in most cases.
  • Maintaining accurate records of work-related illnesses and injuries.

Worker Rights and Responsibilities

Designed to empower employees and keep them safe at work, OSHA has established a robust set of rights for workers. Some of these include:

  • Providing information and training — in a language they can understand — about hazards present on their worksite.
  • Granting employees permission to review records of work-related illnesses and injuries.
  • Requesting and receiving copies of test results completed to find and measure hazards present on the worksite.
  • Filing a complaint to OSHA to request an inspection of their worksite if they believe proper safety and hazard guidelines are not being followed.
  • Exercising their legal rights under OSHA without fear of retaliation.

As you can see, OSHA plays a huge role in workplace safety. The Agency forces employers to be accountable for health and safety hazards, and it gives employees the right to demand a workspace where injury and illness aren’t widespread.

Stay informed of the latest from OSHA by keeping up with the MAC Incorporated blog. We’re committed to helping companies that share our passion for worksite safety connect with engineering, maintenance, and operations management professionals who share this philosophy. Contact us today to start your search for a fantastic new opportunity or a dynamic new hire!

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