Frequently Asked Questions
Click on a topic to expand/collapse the questions and answers.
After a work-related needlestick or other exposure incident, the employer must make available a post-exposure evaluation and follow-up at no cost to the worker. This includes documenting the route(s) of exposure and the circumstances under which the exposure occurred; identifying and testing the source individual, if known, unless the employer can establish that identification is not feasible or is prohibited by state or local law. The source individual's blood must be tested as soon as feasible, after consent is obtained, in order to determine HIV and HBV infectivity. The information on the source individual's HIV and HBV testing must be provided to the evaluating healthcare professional and to the exposed employee. Other frequently asked questions concerning the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard have been prepared by OSHA and are available on OSHA's webpage.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on bloodborne pathogens and needlestick prevention at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.
The standard requires that PPE be "appropriate." PPE will be considered "appropriate" only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) to pass through to, or reach, employees' skin, underlying garments, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time that the PPE will be used. This allows the employer to select PPE based on the type of exposure and the quantity of blood or OPIM which can be reasonably anticipated to be encountered during performance of a task or procedure.
Gloves must be worn by employees whenever any vascular access procedure is performed, including phlebotomy. Phlebotomy in volunteer blood donation centers is the only instance where some flexibility is permitted and even then certain requirements must be fulfilled. If an employer in a volunteer blood donation center judges that routine gloving for all phlebotomies is not necessary then the employer must (1) periodically reevaluate this policy; (2) make gloves available to all employees who wish to use them for phlebotomy; (3) not discourage the use of gloves for phlebotomy; and (4) require that gloves be used for phlebotomy when the employee has cuts, scratches, or other breaks in the skin; when the employee judges that hand contamination with blood may occur (e.g., performing phlebotomy on an uncooperative source individual); or when the employee is receiving training in phlebotomy.
For additional frequently asked questions about bloodborne pathogens and needlesticks, please see https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/bloodborne_quickref.html or https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=21010&p_text_version=FALSE.
Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death.
Although there is not a particular standard for cold stress, the following links provide information for protecting workers in cold environments:
Emergency Preparedness Guide on Cold Stress: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html
Tips to protect workers in cold environments: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/cold_weather_prep.html
Emergency preparedness guide on winter storms: http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/hazards_precautions.html
As a general rule, office temperature and humidity are matters of human comfort. OSHA has no regulations specifically addressing temperature and humidity in an office setting. However, Section III, Chapter 2, Subsection V of the OSHA Technical Manual, "Recommendations for the Employer," provides engineering and administrative guidance to prevent or alleviate indoor air quality problems. Air treatment is defined under the engineering recommendations as, "the removal of air contaminants and/or the control of room temperature and humidity." OSHA recommends temperature control in the range of 68-76° F and humidity control in the range of 20%-60%. Please see the following: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602
You may also wish to view some other resources related to cold stress: Safety and Health Guide for Cold Stress: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html
For additional information on Indoor Air Quality, refer to OSHA's Safety and Health Topics' Indoor Air Quality pages at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html
Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings Guidance at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf and from the OSHA Technical Manual - http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5
A variety of inspections are required to ensure that equipment is in safe operating condition. These include, but are not limited to:
- Shift inspections for all equipment;
- Monthly inspections for all equipment;
- Annual inspections for all equipment;
- Shift, monthly, and annual inspections for all Wire rope;
- Post-assembly inspections upon completion of assembly;
- Pre-erection inspections of tower cranes;
- Inspections of modified or repaired/adjusted equipment;
- Four-year inspections of the internal vessel/flotation device for floating cranes/derricks.
No. Crane inspectors are not required to be certified. They must, however, possess a level of expertise that is based on the complexity and type of inspections they perform (competent). For more complex inspections (such as an annual inspection or an inspection after the completion of a modification or repair), the inspector must be qualified through possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, and be able to successfully demonstrate the ability to solve/resolve problems related to the inspection of cranes and related activities (qualified).
OSHA information on ergonomics or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can be found on OSHA's Ergonomics web page.
OSHA created a suite of resources to help hospitals assess workplace safety needs, implement safety and health management systems, and enhance their safe patient handling programs. Preventing worker injuries not only helps workers—it also helps patients and will save resources for hospitals. See http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/index.html
OSHA requires employers to protect workers from falls. Falls can cause death and very serious injuries -and can be prevented. OSHA's fall protection requirements are as follows: for general industry, fall protection must be used while working at heights of four or more feet (see www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html). In maritime, specifically ship repair, fall protection is required at five feet or greater on vessels, and longshoring operations generally require fall protection at eight feet or greater (see www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/compliance.html). Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or similar systems.
For construction operations, fall protection generally must be used at heights of six feet or greater. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Certain worksite activities and/or locations may allow other methods (including, but not limited to positioning device systems, warning line systems, and controlled access zones) to be used. For further information on OSHA's requirements for protecting workers from falls, please see OSHA's Fall Prevention Web page.
The following OSHA standards contain construction fall protection requirements:
- Fall Protection Standard Subpart M - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_M
- Scaffolds Standard Subpart L - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_L
- Steel Erection Subpart R - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_R
- Ladders Standard Subpart X - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_X
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's Fall Prevention Web page and Fall Protection in Residential Construction Web page.
The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. A FOIA request is a written request for records held or believed to be held by a federal agency. The public may submit a FOIA request for OSHA-related records to the OSHA Requester Service Center, or for more information, view OSHA's Freedom of Information Act Page at www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/howto-foia.html.
According to federal law, positions for federal agencies must be announced on www.usajobs.gov and filled from those who apply through that system. If you check any of OSHA's openings, you will see how to apply and the education, experience, and other hiring requirements.
If you need more specific information, please contact 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) with additional questions.
No. OSHA is not responsible for monitoring unofficial occupational safety and health postings to social media or other media or Internet-based sites. If you have a question about occupational safety and health, please contact us by email, by calling toll free at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), press option 4, or find contact information for your local OSHA area office.
OSHA does not approve or endorse products. Compliance with OSHA's standards is not determined based on the equipment or devices alone. Such a determination must also take into account all factors pertaining to device use at a particular worksite with respect to employee safety and health. This must include an evaluation, through direct observation, of employee work practices and all conditions of use in the workplace. If you wish to research OSHA standards which may be applicable to your product while employees are using it, you may wish to consult OSHA's regulations at https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html.
Most products do not require specific testing, certification or approval to be used in the workplace, however, there are a number of testing organizations that can test your product. Several independent accreditation bodies, not affiliated with OSHA, maintain a list of test laboratories that can assist you in testing your product, such as:
- American Association of Laboratory Accreditations: http://www.a2la.org/
- American National Standards Institute: http://www.ansi.org/about_ansi/accredited_programs/overview.aspx?menuid=1
While OSHA does not approve or endorse products, there are a small number of products, which if used in a workplace, do require approval before being acceptable to OSHA. Products which use electric energy, liquid petroleum gas, and fire suppression equipment, to name a few must be "acceptable" to OSHA. This generally means that the product must be tested and certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). A complete list of products requiring NRTL approval can be found at: (https://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/prodcatg.html). Products that require testing and certification by an NRTL can be submitted directly to the NRTL for testing. A list of NRTLs recognized by OSHA is available at: https://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/
Funds collected by OSHA for employer fines are deposited with the U.S. Treasury. OSHA does not have authority to keep the funds to use for agency operations.
The three major areas of change are in hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets.
- Hazard classification: The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will help to ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent across manufacturers and that labels and safety data sheets are more accurate as a result.
- Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
- Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.
The GHS does not include harmonized training provisions, but recognizes that training is essential to an effective hazard communication approach. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that workers be re-trained within two years of the publication of the final rule to facilitate recognition and understanding of the new labels and safety data sheets.
For a side-by-side comparison of the current HCS and the final revised HCS please see OSHA's hazard communication safety and health topics Web page at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.
The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) remains essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence.
Paragraph (g) of the final rule provides the headings of information to be included on the SDS and the order in which they are to be provided. In addition, Appendix D provides the information to be included under each heading. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.
The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:
- Section 1. Identification
- Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
- Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
- Section 4. First-Aid measures
- Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
- Section 6. Accidental release measures
- Section 7. Handling and storage
- Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
- Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
- Section 10. Stability and reactivity
- Section 11. Toxicological information
- Section 12. Ecological information
- Section 13. Disposal considerations
- Section 14. Transport information
- Section 15. Regulatory information
- Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision
The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.
There are nine pictograms under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards. The final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA's jurisdiction. The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards are shown at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html#7.
Under the current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the label preparer must provide the identity of the chemical and the appropriate hazard warnings. This may be done in a variety of ways, and the method to convey the information is left to the preparer. Under the revised HCS, once the hazard classification is completed, the standard specifies what information is to be provided for each hazard class and category. Labels will require the following elements:
- Pictogram: a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern, or color that is intended to convey specific information about the hazards of a chemical. Each pictogram consists of a different symbol on a white background within a red square frame set on a point (i.e. a red diamond). There are nine pictograms under the GHS. However, only eight pictograms are required under the HCS.
- Signal words: a single word used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The signal words used are "danger" and "warning." "Danger" is used for the more severe hazards, while "warning" is used for less severe hazards.
- Hazard Statement: a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
- Precautionary Statement: a phrase that describes recommended measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.
For additional frequently asked questions and answers on hazard communication, please see https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html
Regarding temperature in the workplace, OSHA does not require employers to provide heat or air conditioning. However, OSHA does recommend temperature control in the range of 68-76°F. The qualities of good indoor air quality (IAQ) should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building. Employers are responsible for protecting workers from extreme heat. HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. For workers exposed to extreme heat, OSHA's Prevention of Heat-Related Illness and Fatality website provides information on preventing heat-related deaths and illnesses. Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat. Employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to prevent heat illness. elements of the program include: provide workers with water, rest and shade; gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization); modify work schedules as necessary; plan for emergencies and train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness. Workers new to the heat or those who have been away from work and are returning can be most vulnerable to heat stress and they must be acclimatized. For more information, including materials and training guides, on preventing work-related heat-related illnesses and death, visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Web page. OSHA's policy on temperature in the workplace can be found in a letter of interpretation.
Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings.
Guidance from OSHA Technical Manual can be found at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics indoor air quality page and frequently asked questions at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.
The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building. Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on indoor air quality at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html.
OSHA does not have a specific indoor air quality (IAQ) standard for construction or general industry activities, including those general industry activities which occur during construction. However, OSHA does provide guidelines addressing the most common workplace complaints about IAQ, which are typically related to temperature, humidity, lack of outside air ventilation, or smoking. OSHA standards address potential hazardous conditions leading to serious physical harm or death. Such standards may include those for specific air contaminants, ventilation systems, or the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act).
Applicable OSHA Construction Standards are contained in Occupational Health and Environmental Controls Subpart D - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_D .
Applicable OSHA General Industry Standards are contained in the following:
- Occupational Health and Environmental Control Subpart G - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=General Industry#1910_Subpart_G
- Toxic and Hazardous Substances Subpart Z - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=General Industry#1910_Subpart_Z
Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings at www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf.
Guidance from the OSHA Technical Manual is available at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics indoor air quality page and frequently asked questions at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.
OSHA does not have any specific regulation that addresses smoking in the workplace except for a limited number of specific regulations that addresses smoking, and other sources of ignition, from a fire safety perspective. For further information to offer to employers/employees as guidance, you may wish to review a document published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the health effects from environmental tobacco smoke, A Fact Sheet: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking. Additional information on indoor air quality in general can be found in OSHA's publication "Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings" at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf; OSHA's web page on Indoor Air Quality: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and on the Indoor Air Quality Technical Links page on the OSHA website. Here also is the web-link for the Letter of Interpretation on OSHA's enforcement policy: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602 .
OSHA has a number of guidance documents that both employees and employers can use to assist them in hazard recognition, detection, control and clean-up of mold. In general the best way to control mold is to identify and control the source or sources of moisture. Once the source or sources of moisture are controlled the mold-bearing material can either be cleaned or removed. For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's "Molds" Safety and Health Topics page at www.osha.gov/SLTC/molds/index.html.
For OSHA documents that deal with mold hazards encountered by workers in various environments, see:
- OSHA's Fact Sheet, Mold Hazards during Hurricane Sandy Cleanup, at www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA-FS-3619.pdf.
- OSHA's Safety and Health Bulletin (SHIB 03-10-10), A Brief Guide to Mold in the Workplace, at www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib101003.html.
- OSHA's Booklet, Preventing Mold-Related Problems in the Indoor Workplace: A Guide for Building Owners, Managers and Occupants, at www.osha.gov/Publications/preventing_mold.pdf.
For further information on this subject, please see:
- OSHA's Safety and Health Topics page, Indoor Air Quality, at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html.
- Frequently Asked Questions about Indoor Air Quality, available at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.
- OSHA's booklet, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings Guidance, at www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf.
- OSHA's Technical Manual (OTM) - Section III: Chapter 2, Indoor Air Quality Investigation. Available at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5.
For additional frequently asked questions and answers on indoor air quality, please see http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.
Federal OSHA is a small agency; with our state partners we have approximately 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation - which translates to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.
Effective August 2, 2016, OSHA penalty amounts were increased for the first time since 1990. Going forward, they will be adjusted each year for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. For current penalty amounts, see https://www.osha.gov/penalties/. OSHA's penalty policy, including minimums, maximums and factors considered when assessing the penalty, can be found in Chapter Six of the Field Operations Manual.
Yes. In construction work, your employer must provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways, as necessary. The training program must enable each employee to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways, and to know what procedures to follow to minimize these hazards. See Section 1926.1060(a).
Your employer must ensure that you have been trained by a competent person in the following areas, as applicable:
- the nature of fall hazards in the work area
- the correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems to be used
- the proper construction, use, placement, and care in handling of all stairways and ladders
- the maximum intended load-carrying capacities of ladders
- the standards contained in this subpart. See Section 1926.1060(a)(1)(i) - (v).
Your employer must provide you with retraining as necessary so that you maintain the understanding and knowledge acquired through compliance with this section. See Section 1926.1060(b).
The following OSHA Ladder Fact Sheets provide additional information on the safe use of ladders: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3660.pdf, https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3661.pdf, and https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3662.pdf.
An additional OSHA publication on the safe use of ladders is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3625.pdf.
Also, the following OSHA standards apply to ladders in general industry: 1910.25 - Portable wood ladders, 1910.26 - Portable metal ladders, 1910.27 - Fixed ladders.
Ladders used in construction work must be inspected periodically by a competent person for visible defects. See Section 1926.1053(b)(15). Ladders used in construction work must also be inspected by a competent person after any occurrence that could affect the safe use of the ladder. See Section 1926.1053(b)(15). See the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10839.
Portable wood ladders used in general industry work shall be inspected frequently. See Section 1910.25(d)(1)(x). Those which have developed defects shall be removed from service for repair or destruction and must be tagged or marked as, "Dangerous, Do Not Use." See Section 1910.25(d)(1)(x).
See 1910.25 (the general industry portable wood ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9717.
Immediate inspection of a portable metal ladder used in general industry work is required if it is tipped over. See Section 1910.26(c)(2)(vi). In that case, the ladder must be inspected for side rails dents or bends, or excessively dented rungs; all rung-to-side-rail connections must be checked; hardware connections must be checked; and rivets must be checked for shear. See Section 1910.26(c)(2)(vi)(a).
See 1910.26 (the general industry portable metal ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9718.
All fixed ladders used in general industry work must be maintained in a safe condition, and inspected regularly, the frequency of inspections being determined by use and exposure.
See 1910.27 (the general industry fixed ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9719.
No, using a ladder whose manufacturer's labels have worn off or been removed may not be a violation of an OSHA standard. However, if a ladder is used where the manufacturer's labels have either been worn off or removed, employers may have difficulty complying with OSHA's ladder standards' provisions such as weight/load limitations. The ANSI standards for ladders require labels on new ladders to inform users of the limitations and procedures for safe use. A clear label that shows the maximum intended load and use instructions makes it easier for the employer to select the appropriate ladder for the job and to ensure that all employees who use the ladder are trained on proper use and know the ladder weight/load limits.
An OSHA publication on the safe use of ladders is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3625.pdf.
For additional information on the ANSI safety requirements for ladders, please refer to ANSI A14.1-2007 (Portable Wood Ladders), ANSI A14.2-2007 (Portable Metal Ladders), and ANSI A14.5-2007 (Portable Reinforced Plastic Ladders) as referenced in OSHA's non-mandatory Appendix A to Subpart X of Part 1926 - Ladders.
Yes. For example, if weather conditions are such that you are at risk for frostbite or heatstroke on the job, your employer should have a policy in place to prevent this from occurring, e.g., proper training and routine breaks for the cold; water, rest, shade and acclimatization for heat. Your employer should also take measures to ensure your safety when weather conditions are likely to result in a loss of secure footing or handholds, due to rain or icy conditions. Ladders used in construction work must be maintained free of oil, grease, and other slipping hazards. See section 1926.1053(b)(2). The OSHA resource below ("Winter Weather - Plan. Equip. Train.") provides information regarding working in cold temperatures and preventive actions that can be taken: https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/windchill.html. This OSHA publication ("Protecting Roofing Workers") has information on heat illnesses, cold stress, and other weather conditions (see pages 33-34): https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3755.pdf. More information on protecting workers from heat related illness and death can be found on OSHA's heat illness webpage: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html. Additional OSHA publications may be reviewed on the publications page on the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.AthruZ?pType=AthruZ#R.
OSHA does not approve products such as ladders. OSHA has standards such as Title 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart X that contain requirements at sections 1926.1051 and 1926.1053 that ladders must meet when used for construction work. For example, subsections 1926.1053(a)(1)(i) and 1926.1053(a)(1)(ii) require that self-supporting and non-self-supporting portable extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladders be capable of supporting 3.3 times the maximum intended load without failure. Other subsections of 1926.1051 and .1053 apply to ladders used in construction. Also, section 1926.1060 has training requirements for employees who use ladders. All of the above requirements can be reviewed at the following pages on the OSHA web site:
Also be aware that OSHA standards are minimum requirements and many employers can and do have additional safety and health requirements beyond the OSHA standards.
Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise levels and worker exposures vary depending on the work environment and duration of operation. Generally, if you cannot conduct a normal conversation two to three feet away—if you have to shout to be heard from another person—then the noise levels may be greater than OSHA's action level standard of 85 decibels (dBA), and hearing protection is required. If information indicates that noise levels may be above OSHA's standards, employers are required to evaluate their workplace using instruments specifically designed to measure noise levels and noise exposures. Employers must provide workers exposed to excessive noise appropriate hearing protection (such as ear plugs, muffs, or both), and provide them a choice of suitable hearing protection when engineering or administrative controls are not feasible to reduce exposure. Small employers can contact OSHA's free consultation program for assistance on measuring noise levels and implementing controls. In addition, if levels are above OSHA requirements, the employer must provide hearing exams.
Many OSHA standards require employers to provide personal protective equipment, when it is necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. With few exceptions, OSHA requires employers to pay for personal protective equipment when it is used to comply with OSHA standards. These typically include: hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, welding helmets and goggles, face shields, chemical protective equipment and fall protection equipment.
For additional information on PPE, refer to OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment Web page.
A fit test is a method used to select the right size respirator for the user. Fit testing of all negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece respirators is required prior to initial use, whenever a different respirator facepiece is used, and at least annually thereafter. An additional fit test is required whenever there are changes in the user's physical condition that could affect respirator fit (e.g., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or an obvious change in body weight). The employee must be fit tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used. Other frequently asked questions concerning respiratory protection have been prepared by OSHA and are available on OSHA's webpage.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on respiratory protection at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/respiratoryprotection/index.html.
You can find OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping forms 300, 300A and 301 at http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html.
- For answers to these and other recordkeeping questions, go to www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/faq_search/index.html
- Covered employers must record all work-related fatalities.
- Covered employers must record all work-related injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid (see OSHA's definition of first aid).
- In addition, employers must record significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnoses by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
- Injuries include cases such as, but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation.
- Illnesses include both acute and chronic illnesses, such as, but not limited to, a skin disease (i.e. contact dermatitis), respiratory disorder (i.e. occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis), or poisoning (i.e. lead poisoning, solvent intoxication).
- OSHA's definition of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities are those in which an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition. In addition, if an event or exposure in the work environment significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness, this is also considered work-related.
- For further questions or clarifications, see www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/faq_search/index.html or www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html.
Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301, available here. Partially exempt industries include establishments in specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries and are listed in Appendix A to Subpart B and here.
Employers who are required to keep Form 300, the Injury and Illness log, must post Form 300A, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, in their workplace every year from February 1 to April 30. Current and former employees, or their representatives, have the right to access injury and illness records. Employers must give the requester a copy of the relevant record(s) by the end of the next business day.
On January 1, 2003, OSHA began using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for industry identification in its various data sets. The NAICS is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.
NAICS uses a six-digit hierarchical coding system to classify all economic activity into twenty industry sectors. This six digit hierarchical structure allows greater coding flexibility than the four digit structure of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. NAICS allows for the identification of 1,170 industries compared to the 1,004 found in the SIC. For detailed information on the NAICS coding structure please visit the U.S. Census Bureau or search the NAICS by keyword. The U.S. Census Bureau website is the official U.S. government website to provide the latest information on plans for NAICS revisions, as well as access to various NAICS reference files and tools.
To determine the correct NAICS code for your establishment, you can use the search feature at www.census.gov/naics. There is no central government agency with the role of assigning, monitoring, or approving NAICS codes for establishments. Individual establishments are assigned NAICS codes by various agencies, based on the establishment's primary revenue-generating activity.
NAICS replaced the SIC in 1997. Now federal statistical agencies use NAICS for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of economic statistics. There will be no further revisions of the SIC, which was last updated in 1987. It is possible that other organizations and state and local agencies are continuing to use the SIC for their own purposes, but these non-statistical uses are outside the scope of the federal economic statistical programs. Several OSHA data sets are still available with SIC-based data. For information on the Standard Industrial Classification system, please visit OSHA's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search.
When an injury or illness involves one or more days away from work, you must record the injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log with a check mark in the space for cases involving days away and an entry of the number of calendar days away from work in the number of days column. If the employee is out for an extended period of time, you must enter an estimate of the days that the employee will be away, and update the day count when the actual number of days is known. 1904.7(b)(3)(ix)
No, you only record the injury or illness once, and on the OSHA 300 Log the days away are counted toward the calendar year in which the incident occurred. If the employee is still away from work because of the injury or illness when you prepare the annual summary, estimate the total number of calendar days you expect the employee to be away from work, use this number to calculate the total for the annual summary, and then update the initial log entry later when the day count is known or reaches the 180-day cap. For additional questions, see OSHA's Recordkeeping page.
You are not required to send your completed forms to OSHA. You must retain the forms at your establishment for five years after the reference year of the records.
For additional frequently asked questions and answers on Recordkeeping, please see https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/entryfaq.html or https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/finalrule_faq.html.
Employers cannot refuse to allow employees to drink water or require employees to pay for water that is provided. However, employees may not consume beverages (including water) in a toilet room or in any area exposed to a toxic material.
OSHA's Sanitation standard states that "potable water shall be provided in all places of employment, for drinking, washing of the person, cooking, washing of foods, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, and personal service rooms." See OSHA's Sanitation standard for more
OSHA's Sanitation standard requires that employers make toilet facilities available so that employees can use them when they need to. The employer may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of the facilities.
For more information, see:
OSHA's sanitation standard at 29 CFR 1910.141(a)(5) requires that employers construct, equip, and maintain their workplaces to prevent rodents and insects from entering into the workplace, and if they are discovered, an effective extermination program must be implemented.
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's Sanitation standard at www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9790.
For further information on this subject at your construction location, please see OSHA's Sanitation standard for construction (1926.51) at www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10624.
Employer responsibilities for controlling vermin can be found in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart J - General Environmental Controls, which covers vermin control at permanent places of employment at 1910.141(a)(5) www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9790; and for temporary labor camps in 1910.142(j) www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9791 for general industry; and at 1926.51 for construction www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10624.
For frequently asked questions and answers on silica, please see http://www.osha.gov/silica/Silica_FAQs_2016-3-22.pdf
OSHA-authorized trainers issue student course completion cards to individuals who successfully complete an OSHA Outreach Training Program class. The Outreach Training Program offers 10-hour or 30-hour classes for Construction, General industry, Maritime, and a 15-hour class for Disaster Site Worker. In order to obtain an OSHA card, an individual must attend and successfully complete the entire class, including all requisite topics and the minimum number of contact hours. Please note that an OSHA card is not considered a certification or license.
For information on classroom training, please contact an OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center in the area where you are looking for training to obtain information on active trainers in that area (see www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/ato.html). Some of these OTI Education Centers may also offer the 10-hour program. Finally, OSHA Consultation offices may offer the 10-hour program or similar training (see www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult_directory.html). The current list of OSHA-accepted online 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training Programs is provided below. OSHA recommends that interested students compare program offerings in order to select the one that best meets their training needs.The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint as well as how to identify, abate, avoid and prevent job related hazards. Although the program is voluntary, some states, employers, unions and other jurisdictions require this training to fulfill their safety training goals. For additional information, visit the OSHA Outreach Training Program website at www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/index.html.
OSHA is a federal regulatory agency within the United States, whose mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA does not accredit organizations and does not certify individuals. The agency covers private sector employers and their employees in the 50 United States and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
OSHA training programs such as the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center program and the Outreach Training Program are intended for workers covered under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, and within the agency's jurisdiction. Outreach Training Program policy has been designed to reinforce the intended program emphasis and limit the amount of OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training classes conducted outside of the agency's jurisdiction. OSHA courses for the general public, including online courses, are only offered in training locations within the agency's jurisdiction. There is no international OSHA training program.
To obtain a replacement 10-hour or 30-hour card, contact your Outreach trainer. A replacement card can only be issued if the class was taken within the last three years. OSHA does not keep records of these classes and cannot provide a replacement card.
For additional frequently asked questions and answers on outreach training, please see http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/faqs.html.
If you have a question about payment or wages, contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division by calling 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) or visiting www.dol.gov/whd.
Workers' compensation (for non-Federal workers) is a state-run program. For individuals injured on the job while employed by private companies or state and local government agencies, contact your state workers' compensation board. Information on workers' compensation for Federal workers is available at www.dol.gov/owcp.
OSHA does not have any specific regulations on long work hours. We have listed below a few resources for you from OSHA as well as the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. You can find information you requested in the OSHA resources listed below: For OSHA's information regarding extended or unusual work shifts, see the following letter: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/faq_longhours.html. Below you will find the web link to an OSHA Letter of Interpretation pertaining to Hours-Of-Service (HOS) regulations: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19374 . For further information, see http://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/go-dol-faq.asp?faqid=322&faqsub=Work+Hours&faqtop=Wages+%26+Work+Hours&topicid=1 .
For frequently asked questions and answers on the walking working surfaces and personal fall protection systems final rule, please see https://www.osha.gov/walking-working-surfaces/faq.html.
If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, we recommend that you bring the conditions to your employer's attention, if possible. A worker may file a complaint with OSHA concerning a hazardous working condition at any time. If the condition clearly presents a risk of death or serious physical harm, there is not sufficient time for OSHA to inspect, and, where possible, a worker has brought the condition to the attention of the employer, the worker may have a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which he or she would be exposed to the hazard.
Private Sector Workers - OSHA covers most private sector employers and workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state plan. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. To find the contact information for the OSHA Federal or State Program office nearest you, see the Regional and Area Offices map.
State and Local Government Workers - Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in those states that have an OSHA-approved state program. Five additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only. This includes: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these five states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.
Federal Government Workers - OSHA's protection applies to all federal agencies. Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor these agencies and conducts federal workplace inspections in response to workers' complaints.
If you are injured, call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, get medical assistance or call 911.
All employers must notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality or within 24 hours of any work-related inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. [Employers under federal OSHA's jurisdiction were required to begin reporting by Jan. 1, 2015. Establishments in a state with a state-run OSHA program may have a different implementation date].
For more information, see OSHA's How to File a Safety and Health Complaint web page at http://www.osha.gov/workers/file_complaint.html.
Safety and Health Complaint
Workers or their representatives may file a complaint online or by phone, mail, email or fax with the nearest OSHA office and request an inspection of a workplace if they believe there is a violation of a safety or health standard, or if there is any danger that threatens physical harm, or if an "imminent danger" exists. A worker may also ask OSHA not to reveal his or her name. In addition, anyone who knows about a workplace safety or health hazard may report unsafe conditions to OSHA, and OSHA will investigate the concerns reported.
If a worker believes an employer has retaliated against them for exercising their safety and health rights, they should contact their local OSHA office right away. You must file a retaliation complaint with OSHA within 30 calendar days from the date the retaliatory decision has been both made and communicated to the worker. OSHA will accept your complaint in any language. No form is needed, but workers must call OSHA within 30 days of the alleged retaliation (at 1-800-321-OSHA ). For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.
Safety and Health Complaint
Written, signed complaints submitted to OSHA area offices are more likely to result in an on-site OSHA inspection. Most online or unsigned complaints are resolved informally over the phone with your employer. Complaints from workers in states with an OSHA-approved state plan will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.
OSHA conducts an interview with each complainant to determine the need for an investigation. If evidence supports the worker's claim of discrimination, OSHA will ask the employer to restore the worker's job, earnings and benefits.
Workers or their representatives must provide enough information for OSHA to determine that a hazard probably exists. Workers do not have to know whether a specific OSHA standard has been violated in order to file a complaint.
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
Workers or their representatives may file a complaint online or by phone, mail, email or fax with the nearest OSHA office and request an inspection. A worker may also ask OSHA not to reveal his or her name.
To file a complaint call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or contact the nearest regional, area, state plan, or consultation office.
As a worker in the United States, you have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses. Under OSHA law, your employer must develop a process for workers to report a workplace injury or illness and ensure that you are able to use this process. It is your employer's responsibility to guarantee that workplace practices do not discourage workers from reporting their injuries or illnesses.
If your employer does retaliate against you for trying to report an injury or illness, you have the right to file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. You must file the complaint with OSHA within 30 calendar days from the date the retaliatory decision has been both made and communicated to you (the worker).
Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:
- Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language that workers can understand;
- Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in their workplace;
- Review copies of records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace;
- Receive copies of their workplace medical records;
- File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected;
- Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector;
- File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act; and
- File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a "whistleblower" under the 21 additional federal laws for which OSHA has jurisdiction.
OSHA provides technical information to assist workers, employers, and safety and health professionals in reducing occupational injuries and illnesses. Find information on bloodborne pathogens, machine guarding, ergonomics or fall protection, for example.
OSHA provides a variety of educational materials and resources, including publications on worker rights, employer responsibilities, All about OSHA, job hazards, and means of prevention. See OSHA's Publications page for a complete listing of available materials or to order publications online. OSHA also maintains Safety and Health Topics pages about specific workplace hazards as well as individual industries. Also available are training materials produced by grantees of a Susan Harwood Training Grant.
OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are OSHA standards for Construction work, Maritime operations, Agriculture, and General Industry, which is the set that applies to most worksites. Examples of OSHA standards include requirements for employers to:
- provide fall protection;
- prevent trenching cave-ins;
- prevent exposure to some infectious diseases;
- ensure the safety of workers who enter confined spaces;
- prevent exposure to harmful chemicals;
- put guards on dangerous machines;
- provide respirators or other safety equipment; and
- provide training for certain dangerous jobs in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards. This clause is generally cited when no OSHA standard applies to the hazard.
OSHA has developed a number of guidance documents to assist employers and workers in developing workplace violence prevention programs. OSHA's informational page regarding workplace violence contains these guidance documents, along with other information you may find helpful. Please refer to www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.
Included in these resources are OSHA's inspections procedures pertaining to workplace violence. These procedures also provide useful information on identifying hazards relating to workplace violence and effective means for reducing or eliminating such hazards. For more information, see www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-052.pdf.