The Ultimate OSHA Compliance Checklist: What You Need To Know
On November 3, 2021, The BLS released the Workplace Injury and Illness Report. This addressed employer-filed incidents in 2020. Private industry reported 2.7 million nonfatal workplace injuries and illnesses.
This injury rate represented a drop compared to reports from 2019. Yet there was an almost 4,000 percent increase in respiratory illnesses. The total illness cases reached 544,600 which more than quadrupled those in 2019.
It's vital for employers to take action to protect their workers. Making sure you address each point on the OSHA compliance checklist is the best approach. Keep reading to learn more about this checklist.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Mission
The OSHA standard's goal is to promote employee rights and workplace safety. These rules cover many different industries. This applies to most, but not all, employers and their employees in the private sector.
Most public sector organizations report to their state OSHA agencies. Yet some fall under the federal OSHA coverage.
These workplace standards and rules result from extensive research. OSHA enlists input from employers, technical experts, unions, and other stakeholders. Employers receive training from OSHA about the compliance measures they must take.
A list of directives describes the appropriate actions to ensure employee safety. This involves rules for training and notifying staff about potential or known hazards. It also details what to do if an employee gets hurt or sick.
Another important concern for OSHA is to protect employee rights. This includes ensuring that workers who report non-compliance (whistleblowers) don't face repercussions.
OSHA is also tasked with enforcing these rules. Violations can result in fines of up to tens of thousands of dollars. In some instances, they may even refer violators to the criminal justice system.
OSHA Compliance Checklist
To meet OSHA requirements, employers must reduce or remove potential hazards. They must also document all actions taken to remain compliant. The following checklist provides a summary of employer responsibilities.
- Ensure the workplace is free of hazards as described by the OSHA standards
- Routinely inspect the environment to make sure it meets OSHA regulations
- Ensure workers have the proper tools and equipment to safely perform their job
- Use OSHA posters, signs, labels, and color codes to identify potential hazards
- Communicate updated operating procedures to workers according to OSHA standards
- Provide OSHA required medical examinations when appropriate
- Prominently display OSHA posters describing the employee rights and responsibilities
- Give workers or their authorized representative access to medical and exposure records
- OSHA compliance officers need the authorized employee representatives names who will attend inspections
- Ensure that employees who invoke their OSH Act rights don't face discrimination
The OSHA compliance checklists include further descriptions of actions to take as follows.
Manage Hazardous Material Communication
OSHA requires businesses that use hazardous materials to develop a communication plan. Employers must train all employees about potential dangers and proper precautions to take. Workers must understand and have immediate access to material safety data sheets.
Understand How to Report Incidences
If a work-related death occurs, OSHA provides detailed instructions to follow. The employer must notify the nearest OSHA office within eight hours.
Report work-related amputations, loss of an eye, or inpatient hospitalization within 24 hours. This can be done by calling 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or TTY 1-877-889-5627.
Adhere to Record-Keeping Standards
Keep records of all work-related illnesses or injuries that occur. This rule doesn't apply if you have ten or fewer workers and/or are in a specific low-hazard industry.
You must allow access to the Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses (OSHA Form 300). This permission extends to current or former employees or their representatives.
Each February 1st, employers should post the OSHA Form 300A. This summarizes all work-related injuries and illnesses from the previous year. OSHA requires that this remains on display until April 30th.
If you receive an OSHA citation, you're given a deadline to correct it. You must also post abatement verification tags or documents at or near the involved work area.
You can't remove them until the violation is corrected. Or, you can take them down after three days, whichever is longer.
Once you re-establish compliance, you must submit proof to OSHA. They will re-evaluate the situation and tell you if further action needs to take place or if you're clear.
Provide Employee OSHA training
For businesses to meet OSHA compliance, worker safety training must be a priority. Make sure that it's offered to all workers using the language and vocabulary they can understand. The end goal is to limit the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses.
Today, many companies and employees prefer online training safety courses. This allows individuals to receive the same training on a flexible schedule. Now, initial and follow-up sessions don't rely on a structured block of time for a group of workers.
These fully interactive programs enhance the participant's learning and retention. You'll realize a positive return on your investment by minimizing work disruption. Staff compliance and safety improve with current information and the right tools.
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