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.
Thank Regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:
If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it shall be placed in a second container. The second container shall be:
Disposal of all regulated waste shall be in accordance with applicable regulations of the United States, states and territories, and political subdivisions of states and territories.
The hepatitis B vaccination series must be made available to all employees who have occupational exposure, except as provided. The employer does not have to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees who have previously received the vaccination series, who are already immune as their antibody tests reveal, or for whom receiving the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons.
The hepatitis B vaccination must be made available within 10 working days of initial assignment, after appropriate training has been completed. Thus, arranging for the administration of the first dose of the series must be done at a time which will enable this schedule to be met. In addition, see Question 6 for vaccination of employees designated to render first aid.
The employer cannot require an employee to take a pre-screening or post-vaccination serological test. An employer may, however, decide to make pre-screening available at no cost to the employee.
All medical evaluations and procedures, including the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination series, are to be provided according to the current recommendations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). According to the current guidelines, employees who have ongoing contact with patients or blood and are at ongoing risk for percutaneous injuries should be tested for anti-HBs one to two months after the completion of the three-dose vaccination series. Non-responders must receive a second three-dose series and be retested after the second series. Non-responders must be medically evaluated (see www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5011a1.htm).
If an employee declines the hepatitis B vaccination, the employer must ensure that the employee signs a hepatitis B vaccine declination. The declination's wording is found in Appendix A of the standard. A photocopy of the Appendix may be used as a declination form, or the words can be typed or written onto a separate document. An employer may use different words if they convey the same information. However, any additions to that language should be made for the sole purpose of improving employee comprehension. Forms must not add language that would discourage employee acceptance of the vaccine, add liability concerns or require the employee to provide confidential medical information.
Employees have the right to refuse the hepatitis B vaccine and/or any post-exposure evaluation and follow-up. Note, however, that the employee needs to be properly informed of the benefits of the vaccination and post-exposure evaluation through training. The employee also has the right to decide to take the vaccination at a later date if he or she so chooses. The employer must make the vaccination available at that time.
OSHA does not have jurisdiction over this issue.
The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) does not recommend routine booster doses of hepatitis B vaccine, so they are not required at this time. However, if a routine booster dose of hepatitis B vaccine is recommended by the USPHS at a future date, such booster doses must be made available at no cost to those eligible employees with occupational exposure.
The responsibility lies with the employer to make the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination, including post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, available at no cost to the employees.
Thank you for your inquiry to OSHA concerning cold stress. You can find the information you requested in the OSHA resources listed below. 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
Thank you for your inquiry to OSHA concerning cold temperatures in an indoor workplace. You can find the information you requested in the OSHA resources listed below. 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:
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).
Employers may wish to contact the Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Division of Workplace Programs at workplace.samhsa.gov for more information on setting up a substance abuse program
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 ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.
The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), specify that "where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use." As the standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. If none of the materials used in this work area is an injurious corrosive (as indicated by the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each product), then an emergency eyewash or shower would not be required pursuant to 1910.151(c).
The following OSHA standards provide mandatory requirements and compliance assistance for employers when selecting proper eye and face protection:
The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. To select PPE for the workplace, see the Hazard Assessment module.
For more information, see OSHA's Eye and Face Protection e-Tool at www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/eyeandface/employer/requirements.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:
For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's Fall Prevention Web page and Fall Protection in Residential Construction Web page.
For information about how to reduce the spread of the flu in workplaces, visit OSHA's Flu page.
Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs. Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to eliminate or reduce risks.
For more information, see the Employer Responsibilities page.
Host employers need to treat temporary employees as they treat existing employees. Employers must assure that all workers—whether temporary or existing—are provided with a safe workplace and all required training and protections. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee's safety and health. For more information on responsibilities to protect temporary employees, see OSHA's Temporary Workers Page at www.osha.gov/temp_workers. For more information on recordkeeping requirements of temporary workers, see www.osha.gov/temp_workers/OSHA_TWI_Bulletin.pdf*.
Employers are required to display the OSHA poster prepared by the Department of Labor (or a similar state plan OSH poster, if in a state plan state`) that informs employees of protections afforded under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The OSHA poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can view it. Private employers may use the poster available from OSHA's website, or a suitable reproduction or facsimile.
OSHA's publications and posters are available free to anyone by visiting the publications page on the agency's website at www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html. The publications, posters, fact sheets, etc., can be ordered through the publications office or, in most cases, downloaded directly from the website. The OSHA poster (OSHA 3165) is available for free from the OSHA Office of Publications. To download or order the free poster, visit OSHA's Publications page at www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html. Clicking "order now" will place the item in a virtual cart on the right hand side of the screen. Or you can call OSHA at 1-800 321 –OSHA (6742) and order a poster. The poster is available in many languages.
It's important that employers do not become victims of misleading solicitation practices or incur unnecessary costs where these resources are concerned. We continue to learn of complaints from employers who have received "official looking" announcements and -- in some cases -- threatening notices, messages, or telephone calls from various companies requiring that employers purchase OSHA documents from them in order to remain in compliance with OSHA rules and regulations. The most popular document being offered for sale is the OSHA Workplace Poster (also available in Spanish). We have also learned of a few cases in which individuals, falsely identifying themselves as Department of Labor or OSHA employees, contact employers threatening fines if they do not purchase specific materials. As stated above, all OSHA’s posters and other publications are available free from OSHA.
To report a government imposter scam or misleading solicitation, see the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) page on government imposter scams at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams. If you receive a call from a government imposter, the FTC recommends that you file a complaint at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.
To get more information on specific workplace safety and health requirements, please visit our website at www.osha.gov or contact your local OSHA area office. See www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html for those addresses and phone numbers or call 1-800-321-6742.
OSHA has compliance assistance specialists throughout the nation located in most OSHA offices. Compliance assistance specialists can provide information to employers and workers about OSHA standards, short educational programs on specific hazards or OSHA rights and responsibilities, and information on additional compliance assistance resources. For more details, visit OSHA's Compliance Assistance page or call 1-800-321-OSHA  to contact your local OSHA office.
OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Each year, responding to requests from small employers looking to create or improve their safety and health management programs, OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducts over 29,000 visits to small business worksites covering over 1.5 million workers across the nation.
On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management programs. For more information, to find the local On-site Consultation office in your state, or to request a brochure on Consultation Services, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page, or call 1-800-321-OSHA .
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:
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/
The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an international approach to hazard communication, providing agreed criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets. The GHS was negotiated in a multi-year process by hazard communication experts from many different countries, international organizations, and stakeholder groups. It is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other U.S. agencies.
The result of this negotiation process is the United Nations' document entitled "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals," commonly referred to as The Purple Book. This document provides harmonized classification criteria for health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals. It also includes standardized label elements that are assigned to these hazard classes and categories and provide the appropriate signal words, pictograms, and hazard and precautionary statements to convey the hazards to users. A standardized order of information for safety data sheets is also provided. These recommendations can be used by regulatory authorities such as OSHA to establish mandatory requirements for hazard communication, but do not constitute a model regulation.
Since it was first promulgated in 1983, the HCS has provided employers and employees extensive information about the chemicals in their workplaces. The original standard is performance-oriented, allowing chemical manufacturers and importers to convey information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they choose. While the available information has been helpful in improving employee safety and health, a more standardized approach to classifying the hazards and conveying the information will be more effective and provide further improvements in American workplaces. The GHS provides such a standardized approach, including detailed criteria for determining what hazardous effects a chemical poses, as well as standardized label elements assigned by hazard class and category. This will enhance both employer and worker comprehension of the hazards, which will help to ensure appropriate handling and safe use of workplace chemicals. In addition, the safety data sheet requirements establish an order of information that is standardized. The harmonized format of the safety data sheets will enable employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders to access the information more efficiently and effectively, thus increasing their utility.
Adoption of the GHS in the United States and around the world will also help to improve information received from other countries—since the United States is both a major importer and exporter of chemicals, American workers often see labels and safety data sheets from other countries. The diverse and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements can create confusion among those who seek to use hazard information effectively. For example, labels and safety data sheets may include symbols and hazard statements that are unfamiliar to readers or not well understood. Containers may be labeled with such a large volume of information that important statements are not easily recognized. Given the differences in hazard classification criteria, labels may also be incorrect when used in other countries. If countries around the world adopt the GHS, these problems will be minimized, and chemicals crossing borders will have consistent information, thus improving communication globally.
The three major areas of change are in hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets.
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.
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:
The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) can be purchased at the United Nations website at http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/dg_publications.html..
The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to five distinct groups of employers and their employees. This includes any employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances -- including hazardous waste -- and who are engaged in one of the following operations as specified by 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v):
For more information, see OSHA's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the HAZWOPER standard.
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:
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 .
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.
You can research your employer's inspection history through OSHA's Establishment Search. Type in the name of your company and choose the dates you want to cover.
The maximum penalty OSHA can assess, regardless of the circumstances, is $7,000 for each serious violation and $70,000 for a repeated or willful violation. OSHA's penalty policy, including minimums, maximums and factors considered when assessing the penalty, can be found in Chapter Six, page 151, of the Field Operations Manual (PDF*).
OSHA covers most private sector employers and their 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 program. 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. To find out if you are in a state with an OSHA–approved state program visit our website at www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/index.html.
The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. OSHA covers most private sector employers and their 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 program. 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. Four additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA-approved plans that cover public sector workers only. 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.
Those not covered by the OSH Act include: self-employed workers, immediate family members of farm employers, and workers whose hazards are regulated by another federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Energy, or Coast Guard).
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:
For further information on this subject, please see:
OSHA Safety Standards, which are U.S. law, contain requirements for "approval" (i.e., testing and certification) of certain products by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). These Safety Standards are found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR), and the provisions for NRTL certification are generally in Part 1910 (29 CFR Part 1910). See Specific References to OSHA Standards Requiring NRTL Approval for the provisions in Part 1910. The requirements help protect workers by ensuring products are designed for safe use in the workplace. An NRTL generally certifies products for a manufacturer.
OSHA Safety Standards contain general requirements for workplace safety. Many of these requirements pertain to equipment for which OSHA does not require an NRTL certification. The only products covered under the NRTL Program are those for which OSHA regulations require certification by an NRTL. Whether or not OSHA requires NRTL certification, an employer subject to OSHA's requirements must assure it complies with the provisions of the Safety Standards applicable to its operations.
See Type of Products Requiring NRTL Approval for a general listing of types of products that an NRTL must certify. Electric products covered in subpart S - Electrical, of 29 CFR Part 1910, are examples of equipment requiring certification for safety. The requirement for NRTL approval is just one, and not the only requirement in subpart S.
An NRTL is an organization that OSHA has "recognized" as meeting the legal requirements in 29 CFR 1910.7. In brief, these requirements are the capability, control programs, complete independence, and reporting and complaint handling procedures to test and certify specific types of products for workplace safety. This means, in part, that an organization must have the necessary capability both as a product safety testing laboratory and as a product certification body to receive OSHA recognition as an NRTL.
OSHA's recognition is not a government license or position, or a delegation or grant of government authority. Instead, the recognition is an acknowledgment that an organization has necessary qualifications to perform safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within its scope of recognition. As a result, OSHA can accept products "properly certified" by the NRTL. "Properly certified" generally means: 1) the product is labeled or marked with the registered certification mark of the NRTL, 2) the NRTL issues the certification for a product covered within the scope of a test standard for which OSHA has recognized it, and 3) the NRTL issues the certification from one of its sites (i.e., locations) that OSHA has recognized.
(Note: In terms of OSHA's usage, "NRTL" is not treated as an acronym but just as a group of initials. As such, the indefinite article "an" precedes these initials in singular usage.)
OSHA's acceptance of a product certified by an NRTL generally occurs during the workplace inspections performed by OSHA compliance officers. However, this acceptance does not mean the product is "OSHA-approved." It means the NRTL has tested and certified the product to designate conformance to a specific product safety test standard(s). It also means the employer has complied with one requirement in OSHA Safety Standards.
Each NRTL uses its own unique, registered certification mark(s) to designate product conformance to the required product safety test standards. Each NRTL must register its certification mark(s). In the United States, this is done with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. See sample of the certification mark(s) used by each NRTL. The manufacturer physically places these marks on those products that the NRTL has certified as meeting the requirements of the test standard. In accordance with OSHA policy, an NRTL must ensure that its registered certification mark is applied to each unit, or if not feasible, to the smallest package of the product the NRTL certifies. For purpose of meeting this policy, an NRTL's generic listing of a product does not signify that the NRTL has certified a unit of that product.
Currently, OSHA does not have, and does not mandate the use of, an "NRTL" mark. Some NRTLs have voluntarily included the acronym "NRTL" with their regular certification marks, a practice that OSHA does not currently require. However, with or without the use of "NRTL," the product marking of NRTLs recognized for the same product safety standard is equivalent in designating product conformance to that standard.
The CE mark is unrelated to the requirements for product safety in the United States. It is a generic mark used in the European Union (EU) to indicate that a manufacturer has declared that the product meets requirements in the EU for product safety. In the United States, under OSHA's NRTL requirements, the product must have the specific mark of one of the NRTLs recognized to test and certify these types of products.
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.
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, www.OutreachTrainers.org lists trainers and some training schedules. Also, you may 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-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.
The 10-hour course is intended for entry level workers. The 30-hour program is for supervisors or workers with some safety responsibility.
No, they are voluntary. OSHA recommends outreach courses as an orientation to occupational safety and health for workers. However, some states have enacted laws mandating the training. Also, some employers, unions, organizations or other jurisdictions may also require this training.
OSHA authorizes trainers to conduct occupational safety and health training through the OSHA Outreach Training Program. Through this program, individuals who complete a one-week OSHA trainer course receive a certificate of completion and an authorized outreach trainer card. Trainer courses are based on one of the following subject areas: disaster site workers (second responders), construction, general industry, or maritime. Upon successful completion of the trainer course, trainers are authorized to teach students courses based on the trainer course subject area. These include two-day courses for disaster site workers (second responders), as well as 10-hour and 30-hour courses in construction, general industry, or maritime safety and health hazards. Authorized trainers can receive OSHA course completion cards for their students. The OSHA Outreach Training Program is voluntary. OSHA does not require participation in this program.
To become an authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer, you must complete a required OSHA trainer course and complete/meet the necessary prerequisite requirements found at www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/faqs.html. For a complete list of all the OTI Education Centers and their approved courses, please visit the OTI Education Center Locations page.
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.
OSHA does not maintain a database with all the 10-hour and 30-hour courses conducted and the names of the students who attended these classes. If you have lost or misplaced your student course completion card, you must contact your Outreach trainer for a replacement. Your Outreach trainer will have to contact their Authorizing Training Organization for the replacement. Replacement cards will not be issued if the training took place more than three years ago. Only one replacement card may be issued per student per class, and a fee may be charged by the Authorizing Training Organization to replace a course completion card.
For privacy reasons, OSHA does not provide individual verification of student course completion cards or authorized trainer cards. Verification of Outreach card authenticity is at the discretion of the cardholder. If an individual holding an OSHA Outreach student course completion card wishes to verify the authenticity of their student course completion card, the individual can provide the name and contact information of the authorized trainer who issued the student course completion card. Each authorized OSHA outreach trainer is required to maintain records on their training for a period of five years.
The student course completion cards in Construction, General Industry, and Disaster Site do not have an expiration date. The form and content of additional training is left to the discretion of the student and/or employer. The student cards provided in the Maritime Outreach Training Program expire five years after the training. To retain a valid 10- or 30-hour Maritime Industry card, students are required to complete additional training. The Outreach Training Program is intended as an orientation to Occupational Safety and Health. Workers must receive additional training on specific hazards of their job. See https://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/index.html for more information on training.
Hazards exist in every workplace in many different forms: sharp edges, falling objects, flying sparks, chemicals, noise and a myriad of other potentially dangerous situations. OSHA requires that employers protect their employees from workplace hazards that can cause injury or illness.
29 CFR Subpart I, OSHA's personal protective equipment (PPE) standard, which includes 29 CFR 1910.132, contains the general requirements for the provision of personal protective equipment and requires employers to perform a hazard assessment to select appropriate PPE for hazards that are present or likely to be present in the workplace. Specific requirements for PPE are also presented in many different OSHA standards, published in 29 CFR.
In 2007, OSHA published the final rule on payment for protective equipment: 72:64341-64430, (2007, November 15). This regulation stipulates that the employer must pay for required PPE, except in the limited cases specified in the standard. Safety-toe protective footwear and prescription safety glasses were excepted from the employer payment requirement, in large part because these items were considered to be very personal in nature and were often worn off the jobsite.
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.
See the Updates to the Recordkeeping Rule: FAQs page for questions on the new expanded reporting requirements that affect all covered employers and the new list of industries exempt from maintaining OSHA records.
You must report the following to OSHA:
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.
Workers' Compensation determinations do not impact OSHA recordability. The employer must evaluate the employee's work duties and the work environment to decide whether an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. If so, the case is work-related.
If the contractor's employee is under the day-to-day supervision of the contractor, the contractor is responsible for recording the injury or illness. If you supervise the contractor employee's work on a day-to-day basis, you must record the injury or illness.
Yes, surgical glues are considered medical treatment for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes. For additional information, see OSHA's Recordkeeping page.
Yes, this is a recordable case. The parking lot is considered part of the establishment and thus the work environment. Punching in/out on a time clock does not determine work relatedness. The bee sting is considered a work related injury and the employee was administered a prescription, which is medical treatment. For additional information, see OSHA's Recordkeeping page.
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:
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 regulations are available on OSHA's Regulations page.
The OSHA standard setting process is a lengthy process that takes many years and provides considerable opportunity for public engagement. To learn about changes to OSHA regulations or the issuance of new regulations, please subscribe to OSHA's e-newsletter, QuickTakes. This free, electronic newsletter is delivered twice monthly to more than 70,000 subscribers and provides the latest news about OSHA initiatives and products to assist employers and workers in finding and preventing workplace hazards. To subscribe, visit https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/subscribe.html. In addition, OSHA publishes all changes to regulations on its website: www.osha.gov. Information can also be found at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_toc_level=0&p_keyvalue=&p_status=CURRENT
To see the web page with OSHA's Letters of Interpretation, see https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=INTERPRETATIONS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Standard_Number&p_status=CURRENT .
OSHA maintains a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards across all industries. For more information about the top 10 most frequently cited standards, visit http://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html.
You can also search for commonly cited workplace hazards with your employer's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code. Once you know your four-digit code, visit OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page, enter your SIC code and view the information for last year.
An average of 13 Americans are killed on the job every single day of the year. In addition, tens of thousands die every year from workplace disease and nearly 4 million workers each year are seriously injured on the job.
Please see OSHA's Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics page for data by state, industry and demographic. Links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are also available.
The OSHA standard related to the proper storage of flammable and combustible materials is addressed in 1910.106, found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9752. However, for more specific regulations on the design, construction, and capacity of storage cabinets, refer to https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10673&p_table=STANDARDS, and for additional information on the storage of flammable liquids, refer to: http://www.osha.gov/dte/library/flammable_liquids/flammable_liquids.html.
For further guidance on capacities for flammable cabinets, the following agency may offer assistance: Agency: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Website: http://www.nfpa.org/index.asp?cookie%5Ftest=1. Contact: 800-573-6372.
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 .
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.
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:
See OSHA's Workers' Rights page for more information.
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.
Often the best and fastest way to get a hazard corrected is to notify a supervisor or employer.
Workers, or their representatives, may file a complaint and ask OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or their employer is not following OSHA standards. A worker can tell OSHA not to let an employer know who filed the complaint. It is against the OSH Act for an employer to fire, demote, transfer or discriminate in any way against a worker for filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.
You can file a complaint online; download the form* [en espanol*] and mail or fax it to the nearest OSHA office; or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742). 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 the employer. Complaints from workers in states with an OSHA-approved state plan will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.
Workers have the right to participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector.
Where there is no union or employee representative, the OSHA inspector must talk confidentially with a reasonable number of workers during the course of the investigation.
An inspector who finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards may issue citations and fines. A citation includes the methods an employer must use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed. Workers only have the right to challenge the deadline for when a problem must be resolved. Employers, on the other hand, have the right to contest whether there is a violation or any other part of the citation. Workers or their representatives must notify OSHA that they want to be involved in the appeals process if the employer challenges a citation.
If you send in a complaint requesting an OSHA inspection, you have the right to find out the results of the OSHA inspection and request a review if OSHA decides not to issue citations.
See OSHA's Workers' Rights page for more information.
OSHA If an employee requests that their name not be released to an employer, when a complaint is being filed, OSHA will not release their name. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 states in section 8.f.1:
"Any employees or representative of employees who believe that a violation of a safety or health standard exists that threatens physical harm, or that an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by giving notice to the Secretary or his authorized representative of such violation or danger. Any such notice shall be reduced to writing, shall set forth with reasonable particularity the grounds for the notice, and shall be signed by the employees or representative of employees, and a copy shall be provided the employer or his agent no later than at the time of inspection, except that, upon the request of the person giving such notice, his name and the names of individual employees referred to therein shall not appear in such copy or on any record published, released, or made available..."
To help ensure that workers are free to participate in safety and health activities, Section 11(c) of the OSH Act prohibits any person from discharging or in any manner retaliating or discriminating against any worker for exercising rights under the Act. These rights include raising safety and health concerns with an employer, reporting a work-related injury or illness, filing a complaint with OSHA, seeking an OSHA inspection, participating in an OSHA inspection and participating or testifying in any proceeding related to an OSHA inspection.
Protection from discrimination means that an employer cannot retaliate by taking "adverse action" against workers, such as:
See OSHA's Whistleblower Protection page for more information.
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*.
* Accessibility Assistance: Contact OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100 for assistance accessing PDF materials.
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