Intro To OSHA

Written by Daniel Aday, CompOne Administrators Safety & Loss Prevention Specialist

During the mid-1900s, there was public outcry about the amount of deaths and serious injuries that occurred at work. People were tired of hearing about worker fatalities happening so frequently and losing their loved ones at work. Great pressure was put on the current administrations to do something about it. On December 29, 1970, President Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which later created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which started the OSHA we know today back in April 1971. Employers are now required to report fatalities to OSHA within eight hours, report select serious injuries within 24 hours, maintain injury and illness logs, inform workers about how to report injuries to the employer, make safety records available to workers, allow OSHA access to records and post annual summaries of injuries and illnesses, as well as many other items. While OSHA governs at the federal level, many states have their own programs, including Michigan with MIOSHA. Employers have to comply with both the federal and state regulations.

OSHA logs are an important aspect of compliance for an employer. OSHA has three logs that have to be maintained by employers with more than 10 employees throughout the previous calendar year. The first log is the most well-known: the OSHA 300 log, which is the Log of Work-Related recordable Injuries and Illnesses. When an incident occurs where an employee is injured, and it is considered a recordable incident, it must be recorded on this log with basic information describing what happened and how it happened. A recordable incident is any injury that resulted in death, loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work activity or job transfer or medical treatment beyond first aid. If an employer has multiple sites, there should be a log for each site. The other two logs are the OSHA 301 and the 300A. The OSHA 301 log is essentially your company’s incident and injury report that should be filled out for each individual injury/illness, and kept for at least five years. This form can be replaced by a company specific report, if desired. The 300A log is the year’s summary of all recordable injuries and illnesses for the previous year. This log must be posted in an obvious location every year for all employees to be able to see.

OSHA’s “General Duty Clause” is one of the most cited regulations in all of OSHA’s requirements. It is the requirement of the employer to furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards and to comply with all other OSH standards within the OSH Act. Essentially, if an employer recognizes that there is a serious hazard that has any potential for serious injury or death, they are legally required to mitigate or eliminate that hazard. Additionally, the General Duty Clause also provides rules to employees that they must follow OSHA standards, regulations and orders, so compliance is not just simply put on the employer to follow. Alongside this clause, there are several specific standards that, if applicable to the scope of work, all employees must follow. These specific standards range from personal protective equipment, to powered industrial truck usage.

OSHA can be very strict with consequences for non-compliance on some topics, but be a bit more relaxed on others. While the most important reason to be in compliant with OSHA is to ensure the safest working condition for all employees, and even guests, visitors, and residents to the areas you are working in, there are fines and penalties issued to employers who do not follow applicable standards. The current maximum penalty for an “other-than-serious posting requirement” is $13,653 per violation, “failure to abate” violations are $13,653 per day beyond the abatement date and “willful or repeated” violations are $136,532 per violation. These costs tend to be a fraction of indirect costs that can come from an injury, however.

If you, or your company is looking for assistance with OSHA compliance, procedure writing or training, please reach out to us at safety@compone.net.

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