The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was brought into being by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. It functions as a division of the United States Department of Labor, and its goal is to develop standards to keep workplaces safe and help employers to meet those standards.
Organizations should designate at least one employee in each department to be responsible for safety compliance. He or she should check for new standards, new data, and new training. In addition, he or she should record and report work-related injuries and illnesses to the Administration. All employees are responsible for practicing safe habits. Managers should make it clear that no retaliation will be taken against employees that report a safety violation
If an organization fails to comply with safety regulations, the Administration will impose high monetary penalties. Some of the larger penalties are billions of dollars. It is therefore more cost efficient for an organization to pay for the necessary equipment and training to prevent work-related injuries than it is to pay the penalties. In addition to penalties, the organization would have to recompense an injured worker and his or her family should anything happen. Besides all of the above, protecting employees is the right thing to do.
In addition to enforcing standards, OSHA offers many resources to help employers decrease hazards. Copies of regulations specific for industries are available. Data and statistics help organizations identify their greatest risks. Training materials for employers and workers help to educate on proper safety practices. Grants are available to fund training for nonprofit organizations. The online publications and news room offer even more information. Organizations would benefit from visiting the Administration's website at www.osha.gov.