In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created. The goal was to help create a safer work environment by working with businesses to establish standards that were workplace-specific. The Federal regulations for OSHA do not apply to municipal employees on the Federal, State or Municipal levels. However, most states have their own OSHA standards and regulations. OSHA has continued to partner with individual businesses, utilities, and municipalities to provide training and research possible changes in necessary safety standards.
The rules and regulations on what you must do in your utility or municipality’s workplace to ensure your workers are in the safest environment possible is set forth by OSHA. OSHA creates rules and regulations that are workplace specific. For example, there are different rules and regulations for those who work with hazardous waste, electricity, etc. If a particular workplace has no specific regulations, the employer has a duty to provide a safe and hazard-free work environment for all employees.
Some standards are universal and impact everyone, regardless of the business or service provided. For example, medical and toxic exposure records must be available to all employees and to OSHA. Another universal standard is the availability of equipment that will protect employees from the day-to-day hazards of their job. Providing this equipment isn’t enough. You also have to provide adequate training on the equipment to prevent potential injuries. To find out the standards you are required to follow, contact OSHA directly.
One way you can ensure your utility or municipality is OSHA compliant is to follow proper record-keeping. If you employee more than 10 individuals per year, you’re required to meet certain record-keeping standards. These standards require you to keep track of employee illnesses, injuries, and even employee deaths. This is also applicable to smaller employers if OSHA or other organizations request it. These records allow OSHA to improve its safety programs and regulations.
How Does This Impact You
Not only can your utility or municipality be shut down until violations to OSHA standards are met, there is a financial burden as well. Making sweeping changes if you have not been following standards is costly. Unexpected replacement of equipment, added training, and manpower to compile the required data to show your compliance is a cost most are not ready to meet. By keeping up on your OSHA requirements and compliance, you can avoid these surprises.
OSHA doesn’t just take you by surprise. They provide you with all the necessary training, documents, and expectations. It is your job to ensure you are complying. Making sure you’re running an OSHA-safe utility or municipality helps ensure continued success and workplace safety.
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