Employment Law Topics

Employment Law Topic OSHA

A. In General

OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a part of the US Department of Labor that establishes, issues, and enforces national workplace safety regulations. These are designed to make work areas and practices safer for US employees. OSHA was created by the Occupation Safety and Health Act of December 29, 1970. It is mandated to prevent on-the-job accidents and injuries in US factories and other industries.

B. OSHA Requirements That Apply to Most General Industry Employers

The following are selected OSHA requirements that apply to many general industry employers:

Hazard Communication Standard

This standard is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers with employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication Program and comply with other requirements of the standard.

Emergency Action Plan Standard

OSHA recommends that all employers have an Emergency Action Plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard. An Emergency Action Plan describes the actions employees should take to ensure their safety in a fire or other emergency situation.

Fire Safety

OSHA recommends that all employers have a Fire Prevention Plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard.

Exit Routes

All employers must comply with OSHA's requirements for exit routes in the workplace.

Walking/Working Surfaces

Floors, aisles, platforms, ladders, stairways, and other walking/working surfaces are present, to some extent, in all general industry workplaces. Slips, trips, and falls from these surfaces constitute the majority of general industry accidents. The OSHA standards for walking and working surfaces apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed.

Medical and First Aid

OSHA requires employers to provide medical and first-aid personnel and supplies commensurate with the hazards of the workplace. The details of a workplace medical and first-aid program are dependent on the circumstances of each workplace and employer.