You became responsible for safety in your workplace the moment you hired
your first employee. While this might sound like the morally correct thing
to do, maintaining safe conditions is also mandated by law. The
Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
(also known as the OSHA Act) was enacted to help prevent workers from being
killed or seriously harmed at work. Not only did this act establish the
agency tasked with enforcing workplace safety laws, it requires employers
to provide employees with working conditions free of known dangers.
Familiarizing yourself with OSHA’s requirements for workplace safety ahead
of time could save you from having to file a
workers compensation insurance
claim down the line.
Here are some of the requirements employers need to know when it comes to
Your Primary Responsibility
First and foremost, you’re required to provide a workplace free of serious
hazards and follow all OSHA safety and health standards. This includes
proactively finding and correcting safety and health problems. Further,
rather than relying solely on protective equipment, you must try to
eliminate or reduce hazards by making changes in working conditions. In
other words, you’re required by law to do whatever you can to provide the
safest environment possible. While you can (and should) supplement your
efforts with protective gear, it’s just a precautionary backup to the first
lines of defense.
How to Design a Safe Work Zone
about hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems,
chemical information sheets and other methods.
• Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
• Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling required by some
• Provide hearing exams or other medical tests required by OSHA standards.
• Post OSHA citations, injury and illness data, and the OSHA poster, in the
workplace where workers will see them.
• Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace incident in which there is
a death or three or more workers go to a hospital.
• Refrain from discriminating or retaliating against an employee for using
their rights under the law.
OSHA Provides Your Workers the Right to:
Receive information and training
about hazards, methods to prevent harm and the OSHA standards that apply to
their workplace. The training must be in a language they can understand.
• Observe testing that is done to find hazards in the workplace and get
• Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
• Get copies of their medical records.
• Request OSHA to inspect their workplace.
• Use their rights under the law free from retaliation and discrimination.
In case you’re wondering, the vast majority of workers fall under OSHA’s
jurisdiction. However, exceptions are made for the self-employed, immediate
members of a farmer’s family (if the farm employs no outside workers) and
individuals covered by another Federal agency. Otherwise, if you have
employees, OSHA’s watching you. Staying abreast of its employer
requirements can help you prevent an unfortunate incident.
However, it’s still important to carry workers compensation insurance just
in case—and it’s legally required in most states. Find your next
policy for free with CoverHound!