As a manufacturing or light industrial employer, you’re probably required by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) to have a safety and health program. This type of program can significantly reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities and alleviate the financial burden on employers. Because employee safety and health are among your top priorities, you may have questions about how to protect your workers. Here are three of the most common OSHA questions and answers.
What Are My Responsibilities as an Employer?
Under OSH law, you must provide a workplace free from serious, recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules, and regulations created by the OSH Act. For instance, you need to ensure employees have and use safe, properly maintained tools and equipment. Use color codes, posters, labels, or signs warning of potential hazards. Update and communicate safety training and operating procedures in a language that employees understand so they follow safety and health requirements. Develop a written hazard communication program for working with hazardous chemicals. Train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and how to take precautions.
How Do I Comply with OSHA’s Injury and Illness Reporting and Recordkeeping Requirements?
Most employers are required to keep a record of serious work-related injuries and illnesses. Examples include fatalities or injuries or illnesses that result in loss of consciousness, days away from work, restricted work, or transfer to another job. Other examples include any work-related diagnosed case of cancer, chronic irreversible diseases, fractured or cracked bones or teeth, or punctured eardrums. If your company has fewer than 250 employees and is required to routinely keep injury and illness records, you must electronically submit information from the OSHA Form 300 Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses and OSHA Form 301 Injury and Illness Incident Report. If your company has at least 250 employees and is required to routinely keep injury and illness records, you must electronically submit information from the OSHA Form 300A Log of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses.
How Do I Identify and Control Safety and Health Hazards in My Business?
Business owners, managers, and supervisors need to implement an effective safety and health program and make maintaining safety and health core organizational values. You must communicate your commitment to maintaining a safety and health program through a written policy signed by top management. Define your program goals and objectives with set expectations for managers, supervisors, and workers to prevent or reduce injuries and illnesses. Assign tasks and responsibilities with timeframes to relevant employees. Provide the time, budget, and other required resources to support your safety and health program. Encourage open communication about the program. Hold everyone accountable for their actions. Recognize employees meeting or exceeding health and safety goals.
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