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
Oklahoma has become the 46th state to ban texting while driving. An Oklahoma employer that uses commercial drivers or that requires employees to drive as part of their work assignments (e.g., traveling sales professionals) will need to update its driving policies to comply with this new law.
This section assists HR professionals in minimizing liability risks. The section also highlights the federal government's major enforcement initiatives and possible damages, fines or penalties resulting from noncompliance.
An employer may use this policy to inform employees that it is committed to doing business legally and ethically. A Whsitleblower Policy will help to reassure employees that they can disclose misconduct without fear of retaliation.
Telecommuting programs have numerous advantages for both employees and employers, including combatting absenteeism, boosting productivity and morale, and increasing employee retention. Employers should follow the steps in this How To on managing telecommuters.
This section helps HR professionals and employers implement effective and compliant discipline policies and practices. Special attention is paid to special discipline situations, including absenteeism, theft, substance abuse and whistleblowing.
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) initiated a first-of-its-kind enforcement action intended to regulate confidentiality provisions in a workplace agreement that could potentially stifle whistleblowers.
California employers seeking to promote an atmosphere in which 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.
California 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.
California employers with one or more employees seeking to encourage and promote good health should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
California employers that want to provide an overview of the evacuation procedures set forth in the emergency action plan should consider including this model policy statement in their handbook.
HR guidance on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).