Overview: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the division of the Department of Labor in charge of creating and enforcing workplace safety and health. With limited exceptions, OSHA regulates almost all private industry workers in states that do not have their own, OSHA-approved state plan.
OSHA creates regulations for several specific industries, as well as general regulations for all industries; it conducts inspections of workplaces to make sure employers are complying with applicable standards; and it issues citations for violations. To make compliance easier, OSHA also offers many compliance programs to help employers create safer workplaces and to encourage and recognize the workplaces that go above and beyond, as well as to put extra pressure on those workplaces that consistently fail to follow the regulations.
Along with the health and safety regulations, OSHA also has several recordkeeping and posting requirements that almost all regulated employers must follow. Most employers that fall under OSHA must fill out the OSHA logs every year, as well as post a total injury and illness record in a conspicuous place every year from February 1 to April 30. At all times, employers must have the OSHA Job Safety and Health: It's the Law poster hanging in the workplace.
Trends: OSHA recently updated its Hazard Communication Standard to better conform to the Globally Harmonized System. With a series of rolling deadlines, employers need to update their written programs, training requirements, safety data sheets and labels and warnings.
Author: Ashley Shaw, JD, Legal Editor
In-depth review of the spectrum of District of Columbia employment law requirements HR must follow with respect Employee Discipline
Delaware employers with four or more employees that seek to inform employees about protections provided by the Delaware Whistleblowers Protection Act (DWPA), help fulfill notice obligations under the DWPA and help ensure that employees who engage in activity protected under the DWPA are not subject to retaliation should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
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US Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez renewed the charter of the National Advisory Committee on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH).
The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) has ruled that the confidentiality provisions of the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) supersede an employer's duty to record injuries and illnesses as required by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Secretary of Labor v. United States Postal Service.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law an amendment that changes the way the California Division of Health and Safety (DOSH, better known as Cal/OSHA) may grant modifications to civil penalties for abatements or to give credit for abatements for violations. The law will go into effect on January 1, 2015.
Employers seeking to promote an atmosphere where employees are comfortable reporting illegal or unethical behavior internally and to help ensure that they are not retaliated against for doing so should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers seeking to communicate to employees that workplace violence is unacceptable and will not be tolerated should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
Employers who want to provide an overview of the evacuation procedures set forth in a written emergency action plan should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).