OSHA is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the agency of the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for creating and enforcing workplace safety and health standards. Workplaces in the United States must follow OSHA regulations or state-designed worker safety plans which provide equivalent protection. OSHA safety regulations center mainly on worker safety training and ensuring that certain jobs are performed only by those trained and certified to perform them. Some OSHA training subjects are specific to particular jobs, while others have to be covered by almost all employers.
OSHA standard number 1910.1001 states that employers must institute a training program for all employees who may be exposed to asbestos at or above the legal limit. This asbestos training has to be provided before or at the time of the employee’s first assignment, and once a year after that. This training has to explain the health effects of asbestos exposure; the ties between smoking, lung cancer and exposure to asbestos; the purpose, use and limitations of protective clothing and respirators; and the specific procedures used to protect employees from exposure to asbestos, such as the use of personal protective equipment and clean-up procedures.
OSHA standard number 1910.1030 concerns training about blood-borne pathogens. Anyone who may be exposed to human blood, blood components or products made from human blood should receive training, at no cost and within working hours, in the modes of transmission of pathogens and the systems involved in blood-borne diseases; they should also receive an explanation about the limitations and uses of methods which will reduce or prevent exposure to blood and other materials which may be infectious. Employees must also be told about the ways of removing and disposing of personal protective equipment.
Any workplace where employees may be exposed to lead must provide safety training concerning the specific nature of the work that could result in exposure, the proper selection and use of respirators, the limitations of respirators and the instructions that chelating agents -- i.e., chemicals that react with metals and inactivate their ions -- should not be used to remove lead from an employee’s body except under the guidance of a licensed doctor.
Portable Fire Extinguishers
OSHA standard 1910.157 states that in workplaces where employers have placed fire extinguishers to be used by employees, the employees must be trained in how to use them and the hazards involved with them. If a workplace has fire extinguishers which are not meant for employee use, and the employer has an emergency action and fire prevention plan, then employee safety training concerning the fire extinguishers is not required.
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