What are OSHA standards?

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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards are rules that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are OSHA standards for construction work, maritime operations and general industry, which is the set that applies to most worksites. These standards limit the amount of hazardous chemicals workers can be exposed to, require the use of certain safe practices and equipment, and require employers to monitor hazards and keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses. Examples of OSHA standards include requirements to provide fall protection, prevent trenching cave-ins, prevent infectious diseases, ensure that workers safely enter confined spaces, prevent exposure to harmful substances like asbestos, put guards on machines, provide respirators or other safety equipment, and provide training for certain dangerous jobs.

Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards. This clause is generally cited when no OSHA standard applies to the hazard.


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