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Understanding the Importance of OSHA Safety Standards

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OSHA, the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, was born out of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970. However, more than just establishing another government organization, this piece of legislation confirmed that American workers have the right to do their jobs in a safe and healthy workplace. The organization operates with the mission of protecting workers against work-related injuries and illnesses.

Some employers seem to think that OSHA regulations only exist to cost them time and money. However, it is very possible to make a case that these standards help employers too. Proper compliance with regulations protects people, bottom lines, and brand reputations. According to OSHA, American companies lose billions of dollars each year because of injuries and fatalities, but safety management programs might reduce these losses by 20 to 40 percent.

Understanding OSHA Safety Standards

The OSHA safety standards are simply sets of rules that describe methods employers need to follow in order to protect workers. There are separate sets of rules for the following industries:

  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • Maritime
  • General Industry

Some examples of these rules include limitations on exposing workers to hazardous chemicals and requirements for safety equipment and safety practices. Additionally, companies must monitor OSHA compliance and report upon fatalities and certain injuries. Other rules might require specific training for risky jobs.

Besides specific rules for each industry, employers must also comply with OSHA's "General Duty Clause." This is an overriding clause that compels employers to maintain a safe environment, and it gets cited commonly when no specific rule covers a certain hazard or incident.

Failure to comply with standards can result in penalties. For serious violations, monetary penalties can amount to thousands of dollars. For willful and repeat violations, the penalties might be tens of thousands of dollars. Besides increasing the risk of injuries or even deaths, violating OSHA standards gets expensive.

How Does OSHA Help Employers Comply With Safety Standards?

Of course, this government body does not just exist to make rules, collect incident statistics, and impose penalties for noncompliance. For example, the OSHA website publishes relevant documents that employers need to comply with safety standards. In addition, this body provides training, general education, outreach, and assistance for American companies. Still, this is not intended to minimize that fact that OSHA compliance, while worth it, can be a difficult task for many companies.

How Does Safety Management Software Help Companies Comply With OSHA Safety Rules?

The Ventiv Safety Management Software Suite helps companies manage their safety programs in a variety of ways. It comes with pre-loaded compliance forms and tracking for action items. It also includes OSHA reporting capabilities that can help businesses avoid penalties. Mandatory training classes can even get offered and tracked through the system.

Besides merely helping companies with OSHA safety standards compliance, the software organizes enterprise-wide data and provides a variety of reports to help businesses identify their own unique risks and address them. Learn more about our safety management technology right here.

 

RMIS Guide

Jun 12, 2015

 | Originally posted on 

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