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What is OSHA Compliance?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 20 November 2016
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The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) was established in 1970 as a part of the United States Department of Labor to ensure the health and safety of US workers. OSHA compliance typically refers to a workplace fulfilling the legal requirements placed upon it by OSHA to ensure a safe workplace. This will often involve posting proper signs and instruction for employees, providing sufficient first aid kits, keeping walkways clean and dry, establishing fire escape routes, and other actions. It is typically the responsibility of an employer to ensure OSHA compliance for its employees and customers.

OSHA is a federal agency created through the Occupational Safety & Health Act, which was signed into law by former President Richard Nixon in 1970. As such, many guidelines to ensure OSHA compliance are federal mandates and must be followed by any business operating within the US. There are also some states that have further, specific OSHA guidelines, and proper OSHA compliance in those states would also need to meet the requirements of those state laws. At both the state and federal levels, these regulations are generally established to ensure a workplace is safe for management, employees, and customers.

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While there is a wide range of regulations that must be followed to satisfy OSHA compliance, some common guidelines include properly educating employees on safe work habits, keeping working conditions safe, and providing proper injury or emergency response parameters. For example, new employees will often be instructed in behaviors that promote a safe and healthy workplace, such as proper lifting techniques, ways to reduce eye strain, and procedures for handling chemical spills and bodily fluids. The work environment will also typically have to meet certain requirements for proper OSHA compliance, such as floors that are free of spills and unobstructed fire escape routes.

OSHA compliance also typically requires that employees and management are able to properly react to injuries or emergencies at the workplace. This includes providing properly stocked first aid kits for employees, having easily accessible emergency phone numbers, and teaching employees and managers how to handle emergency situations. Employees should know how to exit a workplace in case of a fire or other emergency, and plans should be in place to ensure a quick and safe evacuation. OSHA compliance also typically dictates a number of specific regulations for different work environments such as construction sites, health care facilities, and other workplaces that may be at higher risk for health and safety issues.

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