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Course 744 - Working with OSHA

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employer

Employer Responsibilities

Workplace Free From Recognized Hazards

Establishing a safe and healthful workplace requires every employer to make safety and health a priority. In general, OSHA requires employers to do the following.

  • Maintain conditions and adopt practices reasonably necessary to protect workers on the job. The first and best strategy is to control the hazard at its source. Engineering controls do this, while other controls that generally focus on the worker who is exposed to the hazard. The basic concept behind engineering controls is that, to the extent feasible, the work environment and the job itself should be designed to eliminate hazards or reduce exposure to hazards.
  • Be familiar with the standards that apply to their workplaces, and comply with these standards.
  • Ensure workers are provided with and use personal protective equipment when needed. When exposure to hazards cannot be engineered completely out of normal operations or maintenance work, and when safe work practices and other forms of administrative controls cannot provide sufficient additional protection, an additional method of control is the use of protective clothing or equipment. This is collectively called personal protective equipment, or PPE. PPE may also be appropriate for controlling hazards while engineering and work practice controls are being installed.

Providing Required OSHA Training

training

We already discussed your right to receive training from your employer on a variety of health and safety hazards and standards, such as chemical right to know, fall protection, confined spaces and personal protective equipment.

For additional training information, click here to access Training Requirements in OSHA Standards and Training Guidelines.

Many OSHA standards specifically require the employer to train workers in the safety and health aspects of their jobs. Other OSHA standards make it the employer’s responsibility to limit certain job assignments to those who are “certified,” “competent,” or “qualified”—meaning that they have had special previous training, in or out of the workplace.

OSHA believes training is an essential part of protecting workers from injuries and illnesses.

General Training

training

OSHA construction standards include a general training requirement, which states:

“The employer shall instruct each employee in the recognition and avoidance of unsafe conditions and the regulations applicable to his work environment to control or eliminate any hazards or other exposure to illness or injury.”

Additional general training requirements for the construction industry include training for workers:

  • required to handle or use poisons, caustics, and other harmful substances,
  • who may be exposed to job sites where harmful plants or animals are present,
  • required to handle or use flammable liquids, gases, or toxic materials, or
  • required to enter into confined or enclosed spaces.

Specific Training

training

There are also more specific training requirements, particularly in standards put into effect since 1990. Many standards promulgated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) explicitly require the employer to train employees in the safety and health aspects of their jobs. Other OSHA standards make it the employer's responsibility to limit certain job assignments to employees who are "certified," "competent," or "qualified" - meaning that they have had special previous training, in or out of the workplace. The term "designated" personnel means selected or assigned by the employer or the employer's representative as being qualified to perform specific duties. These requirements reflect OSHA's belief that training is an essential part of every employer's safety and health program for protecting workers from injuries and illnesses. Many researchers conclude that those who are new on the job have a higher rate of accidents and injuries than more experienced workers.

Some examples of specific general industry training requirements are:

  • Hazardous Materials
  • Personal Protective Equipment
  • Machinery and Machine Guarding
  • Welding, Cutting, and Brazing
  • Electrical Safety
  • Toxic and Hazardous Substances

Some examples of specific construction training requirements are:

  • Personal Protective and Life Saving Equipment
  • Hazard Communication
  • Signs, Signals, and Barricades
  • Scaffolding
  • Fall Protection
  • Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators, and Conveyors
  • Excavations

You may review an introduction to OSH training by clicking here.

For assistance with developing OSH training please click here.

To learn how to conduct OSH training please click here.

To learn more about specific OSH training requirements please click here.

Keeping Injury and Illness Records

rule coverage

Recordkeeping is an important part of an employer’s responsibilities. Keeping records allows OSHA to collect survey material, helps OSHA identify high-hazard industries, and informs you, the worker, about the injuries and illnesses in your workplace. About 1.5 million employers with 11 or more employees-20 percent of the establishments OSHA covers-must keep records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

All of the following should be accomplished in a recordkeeping program:

  • Set up a reporting system.
  • Provide copies of logs, upon request.
  • Post the annual summary.
  • Report within 8 hours all work-related fatalities occuring within 30 days of the work-related incident.
  • Report to OSHA within 24 hours all work-related hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye that occur within 24 hours of the work-related incident.

Workplaces in low-hazard industries such as retail, service, finance, insurance, and real estate are exempt from recordkeeping requirements.

For specific information on exactly which cases must be recorded, you can go to Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 1904–“Recording and Reporting Occupational Injuries and Illnesses.”

The Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (commonly called the OSHA 300 Log) is used to list injuries and illnesses and track days away from work, restricted, or transferred.

The Injury and Illness Report (Form 301) is used to record more information about each case. Employers can use a workers’ compensation or insurance form, if it contains the same information.

The Summary (OSHA Form 300A) shows the totals for the year in each category. A company executive must certify that he or she has examined the OSHA Log and believes that the annual summary is correct and complete. The summary must be posted from February 1 to April 30 of each year in a place where notices to workers are usually posted, such as an employee bulletin board.

Providing Medical Exams when Required by OSHA Standards

medical exam

We discussed access to medical records earlier when covering worker rights. When you are working with chemicals or other hazardous substances, your employer may be required to conduct monitoring or provide medical examinations that involve you.

An example of this would be if you are working with lead, such as removing or stripping substantial quantities of lead-based paints on large bridges and other structures. Plumbers, welders, and painters are among those workers most exposed to lead. Your employer must give you copies of medical or exposure records involving you if you request them.

Discrimination against Workers who Exercise their Rights

pink slips

Section 11(c) of the Act prohibits your employer from discharging or in any manner retaliating against you or any worker for exercising your rights under the Act.

We’ve covered many of your rights under OSHA earlier. Can you recall some of them? Depending upon the circumstances of the case, "discrimination" can include:

  • firing or laying off
  • demoting
  • denying overtime or promotion
  • disciplining
  • reducing pay or hours
  • other actions

If you believe your employer has discriminated against you because you exercised your safety and health rights, contact your local OSHA Office right away. The OSH Act gives you only 30 days to report discrimination.

Posting OSHA Citations and Abatement Verification Notices

posting

An OSHA citation informs the employer and workers of the standards violated, the length of time set for correction, and proposed penalties resulting from an OSHA inspection. Your employer must post a copy of each citation at or near places where the violations occurred for 3 days, or until the violation is fixed (whichever is longer). Employers also have to inform workers of what they have done to fix the violation, allow workers to examine and copy abatement documents sent to OSHA, and tag cited movable equipment to warn workers of the hazard.

Providing and Paying for PPE

ppe

As we mentioned earlier, OSHA requires the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) to reduce employee exposure to hazards when engineering and administrative controls are not feasible or effective in reducing these exposures to acceptable levels.

Employers are required to determine if PPE should be used to protect their workers. OSHA also requires that employers pay for most required PPE, except for uniforms, items worn to keep clean, weather-related gear, logging boots, and non-specialty safety toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel- toe boots) and non-specialty prescription safety eyewear, as long as the employer permits the items to be worn off the job-site.

For more information, read Employers Must Provide and Pay for PPE handout.

Instructions

Before beginning this quiz, we highly recommend you review the module material. This quiz is designed to allow you to self-check your comprehension of the module content, but only focuses on key concepts and ideas.

Read each question carefully. Select the best answer, even if more than one answer seems possible. When done, click on the "Get Quiz Answers" button. If you do not answer all the questions, you will receive an error message.

Good luck!

1. One of the main responsibilities employers have under OSHA is to _____.

2. OSHA requires that employers pay for most required personal protective equipment (PPE), including which of the following?

3. Which of the following is used to list work-related injuries and illnesses and track days away from work, restricted, or transferred?

4. To maintain and adopt practices reasonably necessary to protect workers, employer should first employ _____.

5. The OSHA Act gives an employee ______ to report discrimination.


Have a great day!

Important! You will receive an "error" message unless all questions are answered.