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Course 744 - Working with OSHA

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Workplace Resources

resources

Sources Within the Workplace/Worksite

There are many resources available to you if you want to find out more information about a safety or health issue in your workplace. Some sources are:

  • Employer or supervisor, co-workers and union representatives – OSHA encourages workers and employers to work together to reduce hazards. If possible, you should first discuss safety and health problems with your employer. You can also talk over your concerns with other workers or your union representatives (if there is a union).
  • Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for information on chemicals – Earlier in this course, we talked about the Safety Data Sheet, also called an SDS, and what information it supplies. If you are working with a chemical, the SDS can give you important information about its hazards and the precautions and personal protective equipment needed to work safely with it.
  • Labels and warning signs – Labels and signs can show hazard information to workers and can be useful in providing additional information and making you aware of a potential safety or health hazard. However, signs are not intended to take the place of actual hazard correction. For example, a “Danger” sign on an unguarded piece of machinery does not meet OSHA requirements because the hazard is still present. OSHA standards such as those for hazard communication, egress, confined space and Bloodborne Pathogens require labels and signs. The employer must make sure that each sign or label posted can be understood by all workers, so the signs must be bilingual if workers do not understand or read English.
  • Employee orientation manuals or other training materials – Orientation manuals and training materials about your job should include information about how to work safely. As we discussed earlier in this session, employers are required to provide training to workers exposed to certain hazards, including chemicals, falls, and confined spaces. All manuals and training materials should be written clearly and spell out what you need to know about your job hazards. They can also serve as a resource if you have questions or concerns at a later date.
  • Work tasks and procedures instruction – A written job or task instruction can provide information about the proper and safe way to perform a job. OSHA considers some jobs and tasks very hazardous, such as locking out machinery, and requires employers to have written procedures. If you have questions about a new job or task, or a job or task that has changed, be sure to ask for the written procedures and for additional training on them.

Sources Outside the Workplace/Worksite

help

If you cannot find out the safety and health information you need in your workplace, there are many resources available outside the workplace.

You will find that the OSHA website has a lot of safety and health information and links to resources that can help you.

For example, from the Home Page, you can:

  • Find information in Spanish from the OSHA en Español page;
  • Locate Fact Sheets and QuickCards by going to the Publications page;
    • OSHA Fact Sheets provide basic background information on safety and health hazards; and
    • QuickCards are small, laminated cards that provide brief, plain language safety and health information for workers. For example, there are QuickCards on fall hazards, carbon monoxide, and pneumatic nail gun safety.

You can contact OSHA by calling or visiting your local area or regional office for safety and health information or to discuss filing a complaint. Compliance Assistance Specialists in the area offices conduct many training sessions and have training materials and information that can be useful.

Open the following Safety and Health Resources handout to get valuable links to many more OSHA resources from OSHA, NIOSH, universities, professional organizations, and unions.

You can also learn more about the OSHA website by opening the Navigating the OSHA Website handout.

OSHA On-Site Consultation

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. In FY 2015, responding to requests from small employers looking to create or improve their injury and illness prevention programs, OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducted approximately 28,000 visits to small business worksites covering over 1.4 million workers across the nation.

On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing injury and illness prevention programs.

Because consultation is a voluntary activity, you must request it. The consultant will discuss your specific needs with you and set up a visit date based on the priority assigned to your request, your work schedule, and the time needed for the consultant to adequately prepare to serve you.

  • The consultant will start with an opening conference with you before beginning the walk through.
  • The consultant will study your entire workplace, pointing out safety or health risks (some which may not have an applicable OSHA standard).
  • After the walk-through, the consultant will review the findings with you before leaving.
  • Finally, the consultant will send you a detailed written report explaining the findings and confirming any abatement periods agreed upon. They may also contact you from time to time to check your progress.

OSHA’s SHARP

sharp

The On-site Consultation Program's Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program. Acceptance of your worksite into SHARP from OSHA is an achievement of status that singles you out among your business peers as a model for worksite safety and health.

Upon receiving SHARP recognition, OSHA exempts your worksite from OSHA programmed inspections during the period that your SHARP certification is valid.

OSHA’s VPP

vpp

The Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) promote effective worksite-based safety and health. In the VPP, management, labor, and OSHA establish cooperative relationships at workplaces that have implemented a comprehensive safety and health management system. Approval into VPP is OSHA’s official recognition of the outstanding efforts of employers and employees who have achieved exemplary occupational safety and health.

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)

NIOSH

NIOSH is OSHA’s sister agency, with a focus on research and training. NIOSH can be a great resource for workers. NIOSH also conducts Health Hazard Evaluations (HHEs) of workplaces in cases where workers are getting sick from an unknown cause or are exposed to an agent or working condition that is not regulated by OSHA. A worker can request an HHE if he or she is currently an employee at the workplace of concern and has the signatures of two other workers. To review the NIOSH website please click here.

Other Resources
NIOSH

Other resources that can help you get information on safety and health concerns include:

  • OTI Education Centers (OTIEC) and other University occupational and environmental health programs. The OTIECs offer the most popular OSHA courses and a variety of safety and health programs including community outreach efforts, Spanish-language courses, and youth initiatives.
  • Doctors, nurses, and other health care providers can be a resource on the health effects of toxic substances, proper medical and first aid treatment, and other health-related issues. If you are discussing a health concern with your health care provider, try to provide them with as much information about the chemical or substance as possible. For example, if you are getting headaches at work, try to get the names and SDSs or labels of the chemicals to which you are exposed.
  • Public libraries have books, journals and magazines on various safety and health topics, as well as internet access.
  • Other local, community-based resources, such as the National Council for Occupational Safety and Health (COSH) and local COSH groups in California, New England, the Northeast, the Midwest and the South, can be a valuable resource. COSH organizations around the U.S. are committed to promoting worker health and safety through training, education, and advocacy.

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. If possible, you should first discuss safety and health problems with _____.

2. Which of the following programs recognizes small business employers who operate an exemplary injury and illness prevention program?

3. On-site Consultation services are _____.

4. OSHA Consultation services are separate from enforcement _____ penalties or citations.

5. Which of the following agencies is OSHA’s sister agency, with a focus on research and training?


Have a great day!

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