A Safe Workplace: How Does OSHA Enforce Its Standards?

How does OSHA enforce its standards?

For employers, creating a safe working environment is of the utmost importance to both the well-being of workers, and the ultimate success of the organization. 

To ensure workplaces in the United States adhere to safety regulations and standards, OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is one of the most important government agencies when it comes to enforcing workplace safety guidelines across different industries.

You may be wondering  “How does OSHA enforce its standards?” In this short article we answer all your questions.

Inspections and Compliance

OSHA inspectors visit workplaces in person to evaluate if everything is being done in compliance and safely. 

OSHA will examine all the workplace safety records and observe the working conditions in situ.

Sometimes they will put aside time to interview on site employees, and also inspect equipment. All this is done with the aim of preventing injuries.

The main objective is to ensure there are no potential hazards. If OSHA inspectors do discover any violations they will inform the employer, and give a reasonable amount of time to fix the identified issue.

Citations and Penalties

If any violations are found during an inspection, citations may also be given at that time, depending on the severity of the violation.

The citation will show clearly what violation the employer was cited for, and the action required to correct the issue that was identified.

As an employer, the last thing you want to do is wait to fix an issue, you must aim to resolve it as quickly as possible. 

If an employer continues violating the same rule, criminal charges and hefty fines may come into the picture.

Voluntary Compliance and Consultation

OSHA also encourages employers to participate in voluntary compliance, and to proactively address potential workplace hazards. 

To assist employers in becoming compliant or maintaining their compliance status – OSHA offers free on-site consultation programs.

As an SMB (small or medium-sized business), you have the option to request consultations to help you to identify any potential safety hazards. 

During these consultations, you will also receive advice on how to improve safety practices without suffering the scrutiny of an inspection, or the possibility of receiving a penalty.

Whistleblower Protections

To encourage employees to report OSHA labor violations without fear of reprisal, OSHA provides whistleblower protection

This protection means that when a staff member reports unsafe working conditions or accidents they do not have to worry about being discriminated against by their employers.

Workers Compensation and OSHA

OSHA is focused on preventing workplace accidents and enforcing safety standards. 

Workers compensation is in place for when accidents or injuries occur. 

Workers compensation catastrophic claims can be filed when an employee gets injured on the job.

In these circumstances, OSHA will usually go in and investigate the incident to determine if any safety violations or hazards contributed to the injury.

OSHA Training Standards

OSHA has various different training standards applicable to different industries, for example the general industry safety standards that encourage OSHA 10 Hour and 30 Hour Training.

There is also a separate standard for the construction industry that focuses on training for hazards and safety issues specific to that industry.

Other training standards include the Bloodborne Pathogens training standard which applies to a large percentage of general industry in addition to having separate training requirements for healthcare workers.

It should be noted that no OSHA training program is compulsory at the federal level, although there are some states that require OSHA outreach training – you can find out more about that here.

Aside from this, there are multiple other OSHA recommended training standards for everything from forklift truck operation, to marine work.

Now You Know the Answer to: “How Does OSHA Enforce Its Standards?”

OSHA’s enforcement of safety standards plays a critical role in creating a safer workplace environment for employees across many different industries. 

Now that we have answered the question “How does OSHA enforce its standards?” your organization can collaborate to help create a healthier, more productive workforce and a safer work environment for all.

For employers looking to get their staff or contractors trained so they can receive their OSHA 10 Certificate you can check out our fast and compliant online group programs.

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