OSHA – Employers’ Responsibilities Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

OSHA – Employers’ Responsibilities Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act

Fostering a secure and efficient work environment for both men and women has been the utmost priority of the Occupational Safety and Health Act since it was passed in 1970. Following the regulations stipulated by the OSHA is a priority of each and every employee. Employers also have certain responsibilities, the most significant of which are as follows: 

• Guaranteeing that the workplace environment is free of physical and/or psychological hazards

• Ensuring that workplace conditions correspond to established OSHA codes and regulations

• Providing employees with the necessary tools and equipment so that they can do their jobs effectively and safely, which includes instructing them on proper use and care of these materials

• Explicitly identifying potential physical hazards with conspicuous markers and clear warning signs

• Keeping employees updated on any changes to OSHA regulations and requirements

• Providing medical examinations and training when called for by OSHA standards

• Making all OSHA codes, regulations, and requirements visible in the workplace by posting the official OSHA poster (or the state-plan equivalent) in plain view at a communal location

• In businesses with more than 10 employees that are not classified as “low-hazard” industries, maintaining records of any work-related injuries and illnesses; an employer must also ensure that these records are accessible to all employees or their authorized representative

• Avoiding all forms of discrimination in the workplace, and abolishing all and any discriminatory cells immediately

• Displaying OSHA citations at or near the location of any infraction until the violation has been corrected or three days has passed since it occurred (whichever comes first); it is always important to correct any violation by the deadline set in the OSHA citation, even after the public display period of three days

Naturally, the employer does not greet this added hustle and bustle with open arms. Thankfully, his or her job is made easier by the professional employer organization, or PEO, which provides a sense of ‘outsourced HR and outsourced payroll’. A PEO keeps track of all OSHA compliance regulations and can answer any questions an employer or employee might have. With the OSHA’s perpetually changing standards, there is almost always a need to teach employees something new or to adjust the methodology of an old concept. The PEO functions to help provide an employer with the crucial knowledge he or she doesn’t know – as soon as it becomes available. Similar to how an employer uses an accountant or lawyer, a PEO takes over HR administration, secures benefits and workers comp insurance and can provide pivotal expertise and assistance in managing risk, safety and compliance.

The PEO's capacity to train is perhaps trumped by its staunch commitment to facilitating a safe work environment. Risk and safety consultants provided by the PEO review an employer’s facility, provide advice for improvement, and may even put together an exclusive safety program tailored specifically for the employer’s business. This allows the employer more time to focus on running his core business. 

About the Author
Carolyn Sokol is a founder of PEOcompare.com which helps small businesses find the right employee leasing company for their particular needs. Her background is in marketing and communications, employee education and training, development of policies and procedures and the ongoing delivery of outstanding customer service.

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