Understanding the OHSA Regulations
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) passed in 1970, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. There are certain federal regulations provided to employers in order to keep workplaces free of serious recognized hazards. The OSHA laws and regulations are different in each of the four main industry categories, though there are some standards that exist across all industries.
According to OSHA, there are four major industry categories. Each category has their own set of safety and health regulations and standards. The four categories include general industry, construction, maritime (shipyards, marine terminals, longshoring), and agriculture. Additionally, OSHA encourages each state to create its own workplace health and safety regulations. As such, there are also individual state regulations. However, the majority of state regulations are identical to the federal regulations.
Code of Federal Regulations
All of the federal health and safety regulations can be viewed in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). This code is the final rules that are published by the executive departments and other agencies of the Federal Government. Every year the CFR is updated to reflect any changes that have taken place. Within the CFR, the OSHA regulations can be found in Title 29, in the Department of Labor’s section of the Code of Federal Regulations. Employers interested in any proposed rules or executive orders not yet published in the CFR can access them at the Federal Register. The Federal Register website has the official publications of any notices, rules, and orders, and can be browsed by publication date, federal register number or standard number.
How Regulations are Created
The rulemaking process for OSHA is quite complex. OSHA is required to conduct a rigorous process that includes public engagement, notice and comment periods. This process is extensive and lengthy. Each stage of the process includes a timeline, details of the requirements that need to be met, and a report of OSHA’s actions taken. Regulations can be created by OSHA’s own initiative or also in response to petitions from any interested party, including the Secretary of Health and Human Services; the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; state and local governments; and employer or labor representatives.
Local Business Spot Light
Thanks to Region 4 Rescue out of Carmichael, California for their input on this information. Region 4 Rescue is a local safety training program that offers first aid classes and CPR certification in the San Francisco Bay Area.
For more information on government safety programs please visit the U.S. Department of Labor website at http://www.dol.gov