The growing number of workplace safety regulations and compliance requirements can be confusing. Unless you are the type of person who likes to read the fine details and assess whether or not the regulation applies to your business or your industry, you might want a high-level answer to important workplace questions. Save yourself some time and let us help you with the answers:
What is an OSHA poster and why do employers post this?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) poster is made available to employers for free and must be posted (it is required!) to help inform employees about their rights in the workplace and inform employers about their safety responsibilities in the workplace. If you work in a state with an OSHA-approved plan, for example California, there may be a state version of the OSHA poster.
The OSHA poster clearly lists the workers’ safety rights, as established by the Occupational Safety and Health Act. It also includes information that may be useful to an employee if he or she feels like the workplace is in violation of regulations.
In other words, the OSHA poster exists to help protect the employee. No employee should ever be forced to work in unsafe or unsanitary conditions without training and protection. The OSHA compliance poster also exists, in part, to remind employers of their obligation to this end in general terms.
Employers are required to put the OSHA posters where employees can see it and read it without drawing unnecessary attention. Often, this poster can be found in a break room or a common area where employees come and go. Employers should ensure that this poster is placed where employees can see it—whether on a jobsite or in a manufacturing facility.
Employers are not required to display the newest version of the poster, so sometimes the poster is old, but the information is still valid.
Note that the poster is available in several languages, though OSHA only requires employers to post the English version. The OSHA poster can be downloaded for free in other languages such as Korean, Nepali, Spanish, Polish, and Portuguese. OSHA encourages companies to display the poster in other languages—particularly Spanish—but OSHA does not penalize companies who only post the English version.
Employees who want to read the poster in their native language are encouraged to check it out online.
What is the Occupational Safety and Health Act?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act is a federal law that exists to provide employees with a safe environment that is free from specific hazards, chemical toxins, excessive noise, dangerous temperatures or unclean conditions.
Should a workplace be in violation of these requirements, employees and employers should take the appropriate steps toward correcting the situation.
What should an employee do if he or she feels like the workplace is in violation of OSHA?
Employees are encouraged to report workplace violations to their employer, which should be the first step in correcting a hazard. Employees can also report workplace safety violations to OSHA without fear of retaliation, but the process of correcting the hazard can take longer. OSHA is committed to protecting employees’ identity in the event that a violation is reported. No employee should ever be fearful of facing termination or other consequences as a result of reporting a workplace violation.
In the event that the workplace is found to be in violation of any of the OSHA regulations, the workplace will be issued a citation and will be required to work with an OSHA member to correct the problem in a suitable amount of time. Any employee who feels like he or she is being punished for taking the appropriate steps toward an OSHA review or solution should report to OSHA immediately.
Specific regulations and accommodations are listed at www.osha.gov.
Find out more about OSHA Outreach Training courses here.