The federal agency known as OSHA (the Occupational Safety & Health Administration) is committed to protecting all workers in their day-to-day duties. OSHA has a broad range of workplace standards and a network of thousands of inspectors. For three decades, OSHA has helped employers prevent injuries and save lives by protecting the workforce. If a workplace is OSHA-compliant, the employer will be empowered to recognize work hazards, protect employees from illness and injury, prevent death, and cultivate educated employees who foster general safety for the entire workplace. While OSHA has numerous different regulations, here are some that apply to nearly all businesses:
Per OSHA recommendations, all employers should establish a Fire Prevention Plan. This plan should enumerate all fire hazards and possible ignition sources as well as equipment needed for hazard control. The plan should describe storage and handling procedures for all hazardous materials.
Employers should be in compliance regarding exit routes in the workplace. Each work site should have two or more exits. The discharges, stairs, ceilings and doors of exit routes must meet certain standards. Employees should be apprised of the exits and of related emergency plans.
OSHA describes standard conditions for all aisles, floors, ladders, platforms, stairways and other surfaces. Industry accidents most commonly involve some kind of trip, slip or fall. These OSHA standards apply to all worksites.
First Aid / Medical
Employers are required by OSHA to provide first-aid/medical supplies and possibly personnel, depending on the specific situation. Furthermore, the first-aid/medical provisioning must be commensurate with the particular hazards of the work environment. OSHA documents describe four elements as essential to a comprehensive health and safety system: leadership along with employee involvement, hazard control and prevention, worksite analysis, and health and safety training. According to OSHA, the employer should implement a first-aid plan that minimizes accidents, provisions sufficient supplies and equipment, and trains specific providers of aid. All workers should receive instruction about the first-aid plan, which should be written down.
Emergency Action Plan
Employers should have an Emergency Action (Means of Egress) Plan describing the steps employees should undertake in event of a fire or similar emergency. The plan should describe how to report a fire or emergency situation. The method of evacuation, including exit routes, should be detailed. The plan should outline how to account for everyone after evacuation. The plan should list any actions of employees responsible for medical or rescue duties. If your business employs a risk specialist with a degree in occupational health and safety, you can task them with creation of this plan. They should consult with all employees to assess mobility risks and present the finalized plan to the entire company.
Author: Emma Sturgis is a freelance writer living in Boston, MA. She writes often on business, web design, and eCommerce.