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OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Administration


U.S. Department of Labor

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Establishing a Safety and Health Program

The key to a safe and healthful work environment is a comprehensive safety and health program.

Safety and health programs are systems that can substantially reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries and illnesses, while reducing costs to employers. Thousands of employers across the United States already manage safety using safety and health programs, and OSHA believes that all employers can and should do the same. Thirty-four states have requirements or voluntary guidelines for workplace safety and health programs. Most successful safety and health programs are based on a common set of key elements. These include management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement. Visit OSHA's recommended practices for safety and health programs web page for more information.

How Can OSHA Help?

OSHA has compliance assistance specialists throughout the nation who 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. Contact your local OSHA office for more information.

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. 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 systems. To locate the OSHA On-site Consultation Program nearest you, visit OSHA's website or call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742).

OSHA's Cooperative Programs: OSHA offers cooperative programs under which businesses, labor groups and other organizations can work cooperatively with OSHA. To find out more about these programs, visit www.osha.gov/dcsp/compliance_assistance/index_programs.html.

Worker Rights

Workers have the right to:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
  • Receive information and training (in a language and vocabulary they can understand) about workplace hazards, methods to prevent them, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace.
  • Review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Get copies of test results that find and measure hazards.
  • File a complaint asking OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA’s rules.  OSHA will keep all identities confidential.
  • Exercise their rights under the law without retaliation.

For more information, see www.osha.gov/workers/index.html.

Contact OSHA

For questions or to get information or advice, to report an emergency, to report a fatality or catastrophe, to order publications, to file a confidential complaint, or to request OSHA’s free on-site consultation service, contact your nearest OSHA office, visit www.osha.gov, or call OSHA at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742); TTY 1-877-889-5627.

Twenty eight states operate their own OSHA-approved plans. State Plans have and enforce their own occupational safety and health standards that are required to be at least as effective as OSHA’s, but may have different or additional requirements. For a complete list of State Plans and their contact information, see www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/index.html.

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