OSHA: Complying with Workplace Health and Safety Laws

In a perfect world, employers would always look out for the best interests of their employees, which include providing a safe working environment. Unfortunately, we do not live in a perfect world. As such, the government has put laws in place that require employers to provide a safe working environment for their employees. The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) requires employers to provide a safe working environment for all employees, regardless of industry or job.

Federal and State Laws

In many cases, different states have their own laws. It is important for employers to find out whether their companies must follow state and federal law or if they only need to comply with the federal OSHA standards. States that have laws in place in addition to federal laws include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

If a business operates in any of these states, not only will it have to adhere to federal OSHA law, but it will also have to adhere to the health and safety laws of the state or states in which the business operates.

General OSHA Guidelines

While navigating the OSHA laws can be very overwhelming, there are some general guidelines that a business needs to follow. These guidelines include ensuring that all employees know about hazardous materials they may be exposed to while at work, preventing unsafe working conditions, providing a safe working environment, providing proper employee safety training, requiring protective equipment when necessary, and performing proper workplace assessments while providing proper certifications. An employer must also report safety records, submit to OSHA inspections, and report any on-site deaths within 8 hours.

Getting Help with OSHA Compliance

The OSHA waters can be difficult to navigate without professional help, and mistakes or oversights can be very costly for a business. That is why many businesses opt to retain professionals to handle all OSHA-related matters. OSHA consulting services can help to ensure that your business is in compliance with all OSHA workplace requirements, that you adhere to all OSHA laws, and that you properly submit all required reports in a timely manner. These services can pay for themselves by helping an employer avoid the costly fees that his business could incur if a violation were reported or found and fines were imposed.