Frequently Asked Questions About OSHA Laws & Regulations

Worker safety is a major concern in the United States. Forty years ago, it was common for at least 14,000 US workers per-year to get killed on the job. But thanks to improved safety standards, that 14,000 statistic is a thing of the past. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) has played a big role in improving workplace safety.

What is the OSHA?

The OSHA is a federal government administration that regulates workplace safety. All companies within the United States must comply with OSHA safety standards. Companies must also work with the administration to improve worker safety. Congress formed the OSHA as part of the Occupational Safety and Health act of 1970.


What Does the OSHA Do?

The OSHA creates and enforces safety regulations for all workplaces within the United States. Employees are required by law to follow the guidelines provided by the OSHA. The office of the Secretary of Labor also relies on the OSHA to enforce safety regulations created by the US Secretary of Labor. OSHA officials inspect US workplaces. These inspectors issue fines and citations should the workplace fail to meet federal safety guidelines.

The overall concern of the OSHA is to create safety and health policies that keep workers safe. But there are specific standards that depend on the industry in question. Employers are responsible for knowing the specific safety regulations that apply to their industry. For instance, safety regulations for a hospital aren’t the same as for a construction site.

Do OSHA Rules Apply to State Employees?

The OSHA does not have authority concerning state and local government workplaces. But state and local government agencies must comply with safety laws created by their state. The Secretary of Labor must approve state and local government agency safety laws.

Does the OSHA Actively Encourage Safety in the Workplace?

Employers and employees attend training sessions offered by the OSHA. The sessions focus on how to maintain safety in the workplace properly. Sessions also discuss the federal workplace safety laws, why they’re important, and how to remain in compliance.

Is the OSHA Compliance Poster Mandatory?

Employers are required by law to display a safety and health poster supplied by the OSHA. The poster informs workers of their rights and protections according to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act. Employers must display the poster within view of the workers. It’s possible to order a paper copy of the poster directly from the OSHA, but there’s also a printable PDF version for download. There’s never a charge for the poster as its always freely available.


Making the Workplace Safer

There’s no way to prevent workplace accidents completely. In 2016, 5,190 workers were killed on the job in spite of safety measures. Some industries, such as logging and construction, account for the bulk of workplace fatalities. But it’s clear that the creation of the OSHA helped improve the situation by reducing the overall number of workers killed per year.

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