The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) establishes and enforces safety regulations to reduce and prevent workplace illnesses, hazards, injuries, and fatalities. Almost every business must be OSHA compliant, with a few notable exceptions. These include:

  • Nuclear power plants.
  • Mining companies.
  • Domestic services employers.
  • Companies that do not transact or transport products, money, or services across state lines.
  • Farms whose only employees are immediate family members.

For all other businesses, OSHA can affect their operations in several ways.

OSHA Inspections

While OSHA uses inspections as an enforcement tool, these inspections aren’t random. Instead, OSHA focuses its efforts on the most hazardous workplaces based on safety priorities. These include:

  • Imminent danger situations that could result in death or severe injury.
  • Severe injuries and illnesses.
  • Worker complaints alleging safety hazards or violations.
  • Referrals from other agencies, organizations, or individuals.
  • High-hazard industries or workplaces with high injury and illness rates.
  • Follow-up inspections to ensure citation abatements occurred.

Violations and Citations

OSHA provides employers with a list of violations they discover during an inspection and the associated penalties. The citation provides a thorough description of the violation, the steps to remediate it, and a deadline to correct the issue. Employers must post the citation near the violation location to ensure employees are aware of the hazard. Employers do have the option to appeal the citation if they believe it’s incorrect.

Training Documentation

OSHA has standard safety training requirements that affect all sectors, but they also have industry-specific requirements. Employers must provide documentation proving they conducted the necessary training. Examples include emergency preparedness plans, accident prevention, and fire prevention.

Employee Rights

Employees have several rights under OSHA that employees must understand to avoid citations and penalties. Providing a safe and hazard-free workplace is the most critical employee right. This includes providing safety equipment and protection against toxic substances. Employees also have the right to file complaints to OSHA without fear of reprisal. Additionally, employers must provide safety training in a language the employee understands fluently.

Failing to comply with OSHA regulations can have significant costs financially and in terms of human life. Each initial citation costs an average of $2500. However, the penalty for repeat citations for other-than-serious violations skyrockets to more than $15,000. Willful repeat violations can cost companies as much as $156,259 per citation. Complying with OSHA regulations can prevent workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities. Contact Windermere Insurance Group to learn more about OSHA compliance and workplace safety.