How does OSHA affect a business?

All employers need to thoroughly understand the applicable regulations and standards that will affect their workplace. The following are a handful of ways that OSHA can affect a business.

  • Inspections: Inspections are a way for OSHA to enforce their regulations and standards. These inspections are not random but rather the agency conducts inspections based on priority. These include imminent danger situations, severe injuries and illnesses, worker complaints, referrals, targeted inspections, and follow-up inspections. While the goal of a compliance officer is to not disrupt workflow, the aftermath of an inspection will often result in safety changes around the facility. Inspections also give employees the opportunity to speak privately with the compliance officer and bring up any issues or file a complaint.
  • Violations and citations: Following an inspection, an employer will receive a list of violations found during the tour along with corresponding penalties. Citations will describe the requirements that have been violated, a proposed penalty, and a deadline for correcting the violation. Employers are required to post the violation near the affected workplaces to alert workers of the hazard. If an employer believes the citations was given incorrectly, they do have the right to file an appeal and discuss the citation, penalties, abatement dates, or any other information from the inspection. It is important to remember OSHA’s goal is to not punish workplaces but to create safe workplaces for employees.
  • Required trainings: OSHA does require a variety of trainings and documentation that the training has been completed. Training is often required to employees’ specific hazards but there are also training that every employee is required to take. This includes training on accident prevention signs, training on emergency action plans, training on the fire prevention plans, and training for new employees. Examples of more specific training include forklift operators required to have power industrial vehicles, employees exposed to heights being trained in fall protection, and workers who are required to wear PPE must have the proper corresponding training.
  • Guaranteed employee rights: It is crucial for employers to understand the rights an employee has in order to adequately address them. This means understanding workers have the right to receive training in a language they understand, the right to file complaints, and most important of all, workers have the right to a safe workplace free of serious hazards.

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