Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHAct) of 1970, to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women”. Under the OSHAct, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed to ensure that businesses were taking the necessary precautions to keep their employees safe. Depending on what type of business you are running, numerous standards must be followed to remain OSHA compliant. If you have concerns about whether your company meets these requirements, it is important to get your business on the right track to workplace safety compliance as soon as possible.
Designate a safety manager. According to OSHA, you must designate a person to manage your company's safety and health programs. The person can be yourself, a manager or any other person that will implement and take responsibility for bringing your company's safety program up to OSHA's compliance standards.
Maintain current OSHA publications. Post the OSHA workplace poster in an area that is visible for all staff members. Current posters can be ordered or downloaded from the OSHA website. Locate the OSHA standards for your type of business and keep a copy of them in a location that is known and accessible to all employees. The standards are the regulations that OSHA uses to inspect each industry.
Survey the workplace for hazards. From the OSHA website, download the Small Business Handbook and refer to the self-inspection checklist to use as a guide when checking your workplace for potential safety violations (see Resources). Review the Safety and Health Bulletins that are also available on the OSHA website, and read the notices that are specific for your industry.
Check for OSHA-approved state programs. Some states have approved safety programs that must be adhered to. These programs may or may not have different standards from those set by OSHA. Links to approved state programs are available on the OSHA website (see Resources).
Train your employees. Depending on your industry, employee training may or may not be mandatory. Go to the Training Requirements in the OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines page to get an overview of what training is necessary.
Request a free on-site consultation. From the OSHA homepage, click on the “On-Site Consultations” link (see Resources). On the Small Business On-Site Consultation page, go to the map of the United States and click on the image to fill out a consultation request form. A consultant will be in contact with you to discuss your needs and set up a visit. On the day of the visit, your consultant will walk the premises with you, speak with employees and take note of any hazards that are potentially problematic. Your consultant will give you a written report, help you to devise an education and training program, and recommend you for a one-year exclusion from OSHA programmed inspections.
Keep the appropriate records. If applicable, keep a record of any workplace injuries, illnesses or deaths in an accessible location. If you had fewer than 10 employees over the last calendar year or work in certain industries that are considered low-hazard, such as retail, service, finance, insurance, or real estate industries, you are not required to keep injury and illness records.
- forklift safety image by Greg Pickens from Fotolia.com