The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, better known as OSHA, is responsible for regulating workplace conditions and ensuring their safety. The administration, set forth in 1971 under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, regulates both the public and private sector. If you are establishing a new business and are wondering how to maintain compliance, it can be a difficult task to undertake. Luckily, there are some guidelines you can follow to make the process a little easier.
Determining Whether OSHA Regulations Apply to Your Business
The application of OSHA standards depends on the state in which you reside, the size of your business and the industry in which you are working. Though OSHA regulates most workplaces, there are particular circumstances that may exempt you from inspections and regulations. Generally speaking, most businesses are subject to the standards established by OSHA, but you may be permitted exceptions if you are a small business owner and meet any of the following requirements:
- You employ fewer than 10 people.
- You are self-employed.
- You are a family-owned farm.
- Your employees perform cleaning, child care or other domestic duties.
- Your business is contained within a church.
If you think any of these conditions may apply to you, you should consult the OSHA act to ensure your business is within specified parameters. Since these exceptions are relatively narrow, though, you will probably need to maintain compliance with OSHA’s regulations.
Satisfying Basic OSHA Requirements
If you are wondering what OSHA requirements you must fulfill, you should start with the most basic. At its core, the OSHA act was passed to prevent business’ reckless endangerment of employees, and the standards have evolved and become more specific over the years. The basic standards that OSHA names for businesses are as follows:
- Regularly examine and assess the safety of your own workplace conditions.
- Post notice of OSHA standards in accessible areas for employees to see.
- Provide safety training for all associates.
- Clearly establish safety regulations that apply to your business and workplace.
- If hazardous chemicals are handled, develop a system by which employees can easily communicate regarding said hazards.
- Maintain stringent records of all work-related illnesses and injuries.
- Ensure the safety of all tools and equipment employees use during work.
- Provide employees with personal protective equipment when necessary.
These are just a few of the essential guidelines your business should follow. New businesses, especially, should build on safety principles and set a precedent for a safe and compliant workplace.
OSHA Assistance for New Businesses
If all of the regulations and conditions seem overwhelming, you’ll be relieved to know OSHA offers assistance for new businesses owners who are seeking to ensure compliance. OSHA maintains Area Offices where staff can offer further educational materials and expert advice for new businesses. OSHA staff members can answer any questions you may have and direct you towards other resources that can be vital in establishing and maintaining compliance with OSHA’s regulations. The office itself provides the following services to assist business owners:
- On-site consultation: If you would like a consultant to visit your workplace to assess its safety and identify hazards, your Area Office can appoint a representative to help.
- Training courses: Basic safety isn’t always obvious, so OSHA offers instructive classes that teach new businesses about safety essentials.
- Literature: Reading about safety may be more helpful to you, and if so, you can find publications online or at an OSHA office that can help.
- Support: OSHA partners with businesses to provide ongoing support, consultation and improvement of workplace conditions.
The resources OSHA provides are a great incentive to get serious about safety and ensure your employees can enjoy a safe, hazard-free environment. Your Area Office can connect you with these options and answer any further questions you have.
The content on our website is only meant to provide general information and is not legal advice. We make our best efforts to make sure the information is accurate, but we cannot guarantee it. Do not rely on the content as legal advice. For assistance with legal problems or for a legal inquiry please contact you attorney.