Last edited 27 Aug 2020

Occupational Safety and Health Administration OSHA

LockoutTagout.jpg
A lockout device applied to a hoist brake. The device prevents manual or electrical release of the brake. This prevents unexpected movement of the hoist mechanism. This hoist is used for a spillway gate. The lockout device is held in place with lockout scissors and secured with two padlocks. In this plant, one padlock is placed initially to secure the device, and the second padlock indicates that the lockout has been checked and verified.

Contents

[edit] Introduction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor which establishes and enforces workplace health and safety standards.

[edit] History

In December 1970, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which set the groundwork for the establishment of OSHA. The organisation was officially established in 1971.

[edit] Areas of responsibility

OSHA sets safety standards (other than those covered by other agencies) for businesses in the private sector. It does not cover people who are self-employed or families of farm workers.

Some of the hazards covered under OSHA include:

  • Slip falls (or trip falls).
  • Toxic fumes.
  • Infectious diseases (including COVID-19).

When a workplace hazard is identified and OSHA is informed, the agency will approach the employer to review corrective measures that should be taken. Initially, the employer will be encouraged to remove any safety violations by making changes to the working environment rather than equipping employees with personal protective equipment (PPE).

[edit] Inspections

Representatives from OSHA are referred to as compliance safety and health officers. These professionals are trained to conduct spot inspections to verify compliance with health and safety regulations in the workplace.

The inspection process incorporates the following steps:

Inspectors are not required to give advance notice when conducting inspections. However, employers can ask them to obtain a warrant before allowing them to enter the area.

[edit] Most common violations

Each year, OSHA releases a list of the top 10 most frequently cited violations. In 2019, the list included the following for workplaces and construction sites

Workplace violations Construction site violations
1. Fall protection. 1. Fall protection - duty to have.
2. Hazard communication. 2. Scaffolding - general.
3. Scaffolding. 3. Ladders.
4. Lockout/tagout. 4. Fall protection - training requirements.
5. Respiratory protection. 5. Personal protective and life saving equipment - eye and face protection.
6. Ladders. 6. Personal protective and life saving equipment - head protection.
7. Powered industrial trucks. 7. General safety and health provisions.
8. Fall protection - training requirements. 8. Excavations.
9. Machine guarding. 9. Scaffolds - aerial lifts.
10. Personal protective equipment - life saving equipment and eye and face protection. 10. Fall protection systems - criteria and practices.

[edit] COVID-19

The agency has released guidance around COVID-19 and the workplace:

  • Frequently asked questions and answers.
  • Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19.
  • Guidance on Returning to Work.

There is also a specific portion of the agency’s website that is dedicated to coverage of COVID-19.

[edit] Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki

[edit] External references

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