HR Support on Safety in the Workplace Including OSHA Compliance

Editor's Note: Keep employees safe under the General Duty Clause!

Ashley ShawOverview: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulates virtually every employer, which means that virtually every employer must comply with some provisions of OSHA in order to achieve acceptable levels of workplace health and safety. Safety in the workplace can seem like a challenging goal, but it is required by law.

One of the most important concepts employers must understand in the world of workplace safety is the General Duty Clause. While there are many regulations governing this topic, there is not a rule covering every possible workplace safety situation. Instead, OSHA enforces the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires an employer to provide a workplace free from recognized safety and health hazards. If an employer knows of an unsafe activity, behavior or situation then the employer is obligated to keep it out of the workplace in order to avoid workplace accidents.

Safety in the workplace has many components, but the Hazard Communication Standard deserves extra mention because it was recently overhauled. Through a series of rolling deadlines, OSHA changed their HazCom Standard to reflect the internationally recognized Globally Harmonized System for their labels and material safety data sheets (now referred to as safety data sheets).

Trends: Lately, distracted driving has been a growing concern for everyone; employers are not exceptions. Not only will employers who have drivers, meaning truckers, salespeople or anyone else who drives for work, have to ensure compliance with state laws, but under the General Duty Clause, they will need to be concerned with texting while driving. OSHA has recently increased their focus on this issue in an effort to cut down vehicular accidents in the workplace, and they will fine an employer who appears to be encouraging employees to text while driving.

Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor

Latest items in Workplace Safety

  • Cell Phone Use / Texting While Driving Handbook Statement: North Carolina

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    North Carolina employers seeking to show their compliance with North Carolina's law regarding texting while driving, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for business-related purposes or while driving a company-owned vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • OSHA Form 300A Deadline Approaching

    Date:
    26 January 2015
    Type:
    News

    Employers subject to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) recordkeeping requirements must post Form 300A, Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, by February 1. The form should remain posted until April 30.

  • Cell Phone Use / Texting While Driving Handbook Statement: Vermont

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Vermont employers seeking to show their compliance with Vermont's law regarding texting/emailing while driving law, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for business-related purposes should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • OSHA Issues Largest Punitive Award in a Federal Railroad Safety Act Retaliation Claim

    Date:
    22 January 2015
    Type:
    News

    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which enforces over 20 different whistleblower statutes, has issued the largest ever punitive damages award in a retaliation claim under the Federal Railroad Safety Act (FRSA).

  • Cell Phone Use / Texting While Driving Handbook Statement: Colorado

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Colorado employers seeking to show their compliance with Colorado's texting while driving law, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for work-related purposes or while driving a company-owned vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Cell Phone Use / Texting While Driving Handbook Statement: Virginia

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    Virginia employers seeking to show their compliance with Virginia's texting while driving law, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for work-related purposes or driving a company-owned vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Training and Development: California

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of California employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to training and development.

  • Whistleblower Protections Handbook Statement: New Hampshire

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    New Hampshire employers seeking to encourage and demonstrate compliance with the New Hampshire Whistleblowers' Protection Act (NHWPA or the Act) should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Cell Phone Use/Texting While Driving Handbook Statement: New Hampshire

    Type:
    Employee Handbooks

    New Hampshire employers seeking to show their compliance with New Hampshire's law regarding texting while driving, to promote driving safety and to limit liability from accidents involving employees who are driving and using electronic devices for work-related purposes or while driving a company-owned vehicle should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.

  • Workers' Compensation: California

    Type:
    Employment Law Manual

    In-depth review of the spectrum of California employment law requirements HR must follow with respect to workers' compensation.

About this topic

HR considerations for employers regarding all areas of workplace safety. Advice and guidance on creating and keeping safety in the workplace.