What Is The OSH Act And Does It Matter?

3 Mins read

OSH stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Act and it was developed in the 1970s. In today’s culture, it’s easy to gloss over OSH and call it health and safety. Whatever makes employees safe, right? Yes, although their well-being is paramount, businesses can’t gloss over the act because it contains rules and regulations. Any company that misses these guidelines will suffer the consequences. On the whole, then, the answer is yes; it does matter.


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To help the firm comply, the following will go into detail as to why complying is essential. Also, there will be guidelines on how to conform and reduce the company’s liability.

It’s The Law

The first thing to notice is that it was passed into law in the 1970s. As a result, it is illegal for a business not to follow the rules and regulations set out in the act. Any company found in violation could end up with a hefty fine, penalties and even jail time depending on the circumstances. Indeed, there are cases where businesses didn’t do enough to comply with OSH and were charged with culpable manslaughter. The only way to stay on the right side of the law is to check out an overview and review the terms. Then, you should check back to see if you have all of the bases covered or if there are some which are loose or faulty. Always consult a lawyer too if you have the money. With their skill and knowledge, they will be able to ensure the firm isn’t in contempt.

Employers Have Specific Jobs

Health and safety are broad terms which encompass a lot of different areas of business. This is one reason OSH was passed in the first place to avoid ambiguity. And, it’s something that employers need to consider because it means there are tasks which they have to do for the sake of their workers. Maintaining a safe and secure environment is one, but there are others that are more specific and detailed. For example, the company has to search for and “eradicate” hazards to health constantly. If you can’t prove this doesn’t happen on a regular basis, the business may be vulnerable. Also, employees need notifying of any dangers which the workplace poses. Finding them is one thing but raising awareness is another altogether.

And Employees Have Precise Rights

Not only do businesses have to take care of their end of the deal but they also need to protect their workers. Of course, this is obvious because it’s a leading part of keeping people safe. However, the way companies are supposed to do it is non-negotiable and may surprise lots of bosses. A prime example is training. Employees need regular and up to date training on how to spot and combat workplace hazards. Usually, managers give their recruits a video to watch and ask them to save their questions to the end. But, OSH asks for more than this because it wants employers to get their workers to “obtain and review work-related illnesses” and accidents. That way, everyone in the office or on-site will be able to see how they can avoid an incident.

Equipment Is Necessary

The act itself doesn’t specify safety equipment for obvious reasons. But, there is no doubt that it needs to be present for the well-being of the entire firm. The first thing to consider is the type of equipment, and that usually depends on the circumstances. For instance, a “watch your head” sign is useless if something falls from a height. Yes, there is a warning, but contingencies need to be in place too. Therefore, anyone working on an elevated platform requires mezzanine gates for security. People on a site, however, must have helmets, boots and high-visibility clothing.

Discrimination Isn’t Allowed

Not to say you are guilty of this, but lots of work-related accidents occurred in the past because no one spoke up. Why? It’s because they feared retaliation from their bosses who might fire them for pointing out failures. Believe it or not, that did happen in the past and it still would today if it wasn’t for OSH. Thankfully, that scenario is no longer the norm because regulations are in place. Now, if a worker reports a failing within the business, the company has to respond without lashing out. And, that can take many forms in the eyes of the courts. For example, the worker may keep their job yet lose responsibilities at work. That’s discrimination, plain and simple. Whatever occurs, employees need treating the same unless there is a breach that calls for a change. Otherwise, you may be in trouble with the law.

Hopefully, these tips help you to understand better implement the OSH Act.