Safety in the workplace is a responsibility that involves everyone from employers to employees and the government. As its name implies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. Their standards, training, compliance processes, and inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and costs without adverse effects on employment, sales, or company survival.
Despite its apparent benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider. Although OSHA tries to make its regulations easy to understand, some of the language can be overwhelming. Their requirements are not only complex, but they are constantly changing, making compliance a challenge for employers. Our OSHA law attorneys at Hendershot Cowart P.C. have worked with employers for more than 30 years to help them understand their safety obligations.
To ensure that you are best complying with their guidelines, we are breaking down the training requirements and standards set by OSHA.
Certain jobs are more hazardous than others, such as construction, agriculture, and maritime, and they require extra precautions. Those that fall outside of that category are called “general industry.” The following are OSHA requirements that apply to most general industry employers:
Hazard Communication Standard: This standard was designed to ensure that both employers and workers know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers must develop and implement a written Hazard Communication Program.
Emergency Action Plan Standard: Employers are required to have an Emergency Action Plan that outlines the steps employees should take to ensure their safety in an emergency situation.
Fire Safety: Employers must have a Fire Prevention Plan and train workers about fire hazards as well as what to do in a fire emergency.
Exit Routes: Employers must have a continuous and unobstructed path of exit travel from the workplace to a place of safety so that employees can evacuate safely.
Walking/Working Surfaces: One of the leading causes of work-related injuries and deaths are falls from heights and the same level (working surface). OSHA issued a final rule in 2016 to better protect workers by adding training and inspection requirements. OSHA estimates that these changes will prevent 29 fatalities and 5,842 lost-workday injuries every year.
Medical and First Aid: OSHA requires employers to provide medical and first-aid personnel and supplies corresponding to the workplace's hazards.
Implementing Training Guidelines
Many of the standards detailed in OSHA’s guidelines require employers to train employees in certain areas of their job to improve safety and minimize the chances of an accident. OSHA has developed voluntary training guidelines to help employers meet those standards, which you can find here.
It’s vital for employers to utilize programs that are industry and workplace-specific. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we assist employers by creating custom training programs. Our three-step process includes:
Step #1: Evaluate, audit, and identify training and policy needs commensurate to industry.
Step #2: Develop an industry-appropriate and compliant training program.
Step #3: Conduct and improve training. We have access to a network to handle on-site training on everything from how to put on personal protective equipment to how to operate a crane.
Hendershot Cowart P.C.: Helping Businesses Comply with OSHA Regulations
As an employer, protecting the health and safety of your workers is crucial. Don’t wait for an accident to happen to take action. It is wise to take proactive measures to meet OSHA requirements so that you can avoid inspections but also to keep your employees safe and happy. An OSHA law attorney can help ensure that you are complying with their regulations. At Hendershot Cowart P.C., we can create a tailored safety program or evaluate your current training program, identify weaknesses, and implement workable solutions, all while maintaining your bottom line.
Hendershot Cowart P.C. is the firm to call to solve your OSHA-related problems. Call (713) 783-3110 to talk to our experienced legal team today.