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What Does OSHA Do?


What Does OSHA Do? OSHA 2056 2000 (Revised)

OSHA's mission is to protect American workers. OSHA does the following:

  • Encourages employers and employees to reduce workplace hazards and to implement new safety and health programs or improve existing programs;
  • Develops mandatory job safety and health standards and enforces them through work site inspections, employer assistance, and sometimes, by imposing citations or penalties or both;
  • Establishes responsibilities and rights for employers and employees to achieve better safety and health conditions;
  • Conducts research, either directly or through grants and contracts, to develop innovative ways of dealing with workplace hazards;
  • Maintains a reporting and record keeping system to monitor job-related injures and illnesses;
  • Establishes training programs to increase the competence of occupational safety and health personnel; and
  • Develops analyzes, evaluates, and approves state occupational safety and health programs.
  • Provides technical and compliance assistance, training and education, and cooperative programs and partnerships to help employers reduce worker accidents and injuries.
  • Nearly everyone in America works or has someone in the immediate family who does. Whether you are an employer, employee, or have a family member who works, you should know about OSHA. The OSH Act covers: All employers and their employees in the 50 states and all territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Johnston Island, the Canal Zone, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

OSHA coverage includes:

  • Employers and employees in such varied fields as manufacturing, construction, longshoring, shipbuilding, ship breaking, ship repair, agriculture, law and medicine, charity and disaster relief, organized labor, and private education.
  • Religious groups to the extent they employ workers for secular purposes.
  • The OSH Act does not cover the following:

  • The self-employed.
  • Immediate members of farming families that do not employ outside workers.
  • Employees whose working conditions are regulated by other federal agencies under other federal statutes. These include mine workers, certain truckers and rail workers, and atomic energy workers.
  • Public employees in state and local governments.

    What Are My Responsibilities [as an employer] Under the OSH Act?

    If you are an employer the OSH Act covers, you must:

  • Meet your general duty responsibility to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards;
  • Keep workers informed about OSHA and safety and health matters with which they are involved
  • Comply in a responsible manner with standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSH Act;
  • Be familiar with mandatory OSHA standards;
  • Make copies of standards available to employees for review upon request;
  • Evaluate workplace conditions;
  • Minimize or eliminate potential hazards;
  • Make sure employees have and use safe, properly maintained tools and equipment (including appropriate personal protective equipment);
  • Warn employees of potential hazards;
  • Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them to employees;
  • Provide medical examinations when required;
  • Provide training required by OSHA standards;
  • Report within 8 hours any accident that results in a fatality or the hospitalization of three or more employees;
  • Keep OSHA-required records of work-related injuries and illnesses, unless otherwise specified;
  • Post a copy of the OSHA 200--Log and Summary of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses for the prior year each year during the entire month of February unless otherwise specified;
  • Post, at a prominent location within the workplace, the OSHA poster (OSHA 2203) informing employees of their rights and responsibilities;
  • Provide employees, former employees, and their representatives access to the OSHA 200 form at a reasonable time and in a reasonable manner;
  • Provide access to employee medical records and exposure records;
  • Cooperate with OSHA compliance officers;
  • Not discriminate against employees who properly exercise their rights under the OSH Act;
  • Post OSHA citations and abatement verification notices at or near the worksite involved; and
  • Abate cited violations within the prescribed period.

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