If you own a business or work in Human Resources, then chances are you’ve heard of OSHA. The Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSHA) was passed in 1970 to support the balance of business needs and employee health. Basically, the act says that workplaces must be free from recognized hazards that are likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
Curious what OSHA means for your business and which reporting and recordkeeping requirements apply to you? In this 3-part series, we’ll dive into the various requirements under OSHA, how to report an injury, and what recordkeeping you are responsible for.
Requirements Under OSHA
Covering most private employers in all 50 states, OSHA aims to promote safe workplaces through a number of employer responsibilities. For example, these requirements include portraying OSHA posters, injury reporting policies, and other industry-specific safety provisions.
Beyond these responsibilities, there are two main requirements for employers under OSHA: reporting and recordkeeping. Reporting applies to all employers with 1+ employees – regardless of industry. On the other hand, some employers may be exempt from recordkeeping requirements.
|Reporting||All employers||Contact OSHA to report certain on-the-job injuries or illnesses|
|Recordkeeping||Employers with 11+ employees, unless classified as a low-risk industry||Internally maintain certain records of on-the-job injuries and illnesses|
Top Tip: Regardless of if your business is recordkeeping-exempt or not, we recommend appointing someone in your office to be in charge of the different OSHA requirements you must comply with! Chances are, you’ll be glad you did if an issue ever arises!
Beyond Federal: State Plans
In addition to federal OSHA requirements, 22 states have their own state plans. By law, these plans must be at least as effective as federal plans.
For OSHA reporting, you’ll want to contact your local state agency (rather than the federal agency) for your reporting requirements as these vary across the board.
Alternately, most states mirror federal requirements for recordkeeping. However, be mindful that Hawaii and Washington have their own unique requirements. Additionally, California and Oregon have their own unique requirements as well as state-specific forms.
Top Tip: It’s so important to establish a good working relationship with your nearest OSHA office. If you haven’t already, get in touch with your nearest OSHA office to review your employer responsibilities today!
What About ______?
As extensive as OSHA regulations are, it is unlikely that every safety situation that will ever come up is addressed by the Occupational Safety & Health Act.
Therefore, OSHA presents employers with a “general duty” clause. Essentially this states that in the event that there is no specific requirement for a particular issue:
Each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.
The moral of the story? When in doubt, err on the side of caution. If you still need help, review the Department of Labor’s Help for Employers when it comes to compliance.
What do you think?
Let us know in the comments below your own experience with the Occupational Safety & Health Act! If you have any questions or need assistance with your responsibilities, contact our Customer Service team at (866) 946-2032. You can also browse our online OSHA compliance store to pick up any postings, kits, or training you may be missing.
Last but not least, don’t forget to log on to your HR Support Center for full access to our entire library of employment laws, checklists, and more to stay on top of your requirements. And be sure to check us out on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for even more HR tips & tricks!