What is OSHA and why do we need it?
OSHA, which stands for Occupational Safety and Health Act. This law was created and enacted in 1970. OSHA’s mission is to help employers and employees reduce the number of accidents, illnesses, and deaths while working in the workplace.
OSHA is doing its job. Since OSHA has gone into effect, 60% of workplace fatalities have ceased. A whopping 40% of workplace injuries and illnesses have also decreased.
OSHA also helps employers. When there are fewer injuries, illnesses, and deaths, workers’ compensation costs can be lowered. We all know that medical treatment is expensive. Workers’ compensation covers medical treatment when an employee or employer is injured on the job. (Many companies proudly post the number of days employees and employers have been without injury. Some companies even offer employee benefits after a certain number of injury-free days. They may have offered you a pizza party with lunch at work or a leather day, planner, etc., due to zero injuries after a certain period of time). Insurance costs will also decrease when fewer employees are injured on the job. Less money is needed to spend on back-to-work programs. Return-to-work programs help an employee exercise and fulfill their job duties safely again. Due to OSHA, bad products are less likely to be produced. Another way this law helps is that less money is spent on items that the injured employee needs to continue their work.
OSHA makes sure that companies follow the rules, help train both employers and employees to work safely, and have partnerships through voluntary programs.
While you’re at your workplace, you may see OSHA come over to do an inspection. You will most likely see everyone (especially management) get nervous and double check to make sure all regulations are being followed. OSHA will have a checklist of the items and the rules that must be followed. The company will receive a report on the rules that are violated. The company must fix these items within a specified period of time. Another reason management is nervous is that during an inspection when regulations are violated, the company can be cited and / or fined. Some of these fines are an extreme amount of dollars.
Employees can rest assured that OSHA assists with safety, specific rights, and assists with innovation in workplace hazards. You have surely seen safety videos in your workplace especially if you work in a welding company. The videos are made specifically for your type of work. You will be shown that you use your welding equipment at all times when working. Safety tips on why you need welding goggles, a safety helmet, safety shoes, and other safety tips will be reviewed. You will learn where all the MSDS sheets and safety manuals are available to you as an employee.
Now you know what OSHA is and how useful it really is for the workplace.