ohs regulations compliance

Whether you own a company or work for one, you should always devote time and effort to staying safe throughout the workday. Staying safe prevents injuries while saving employees and employers a lot of money.

The U.S. Department of Labor created the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which includes safety guidelines for employers and employees. This act also led to the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

This act and its many pages of regulations cover numerous industries. We’re here to help you save time with easy-to-understand tips. In this article, you’ll learn about OHS and what focuses on it. You’ll also discover how employers and employees can work safely. What is OHS?

Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is a public health practice focusing on preventing health and safety in the workplace. OHS studies work-related data, addressing injuries and illnesses among companies and their employees.

This practice focuses on various workplace factors, including:

  • Assessing risks
  • Preventing injuries
  • Avoiding hazards
  • Promoting work-life balance
  • Following all safety protocols

With so many safety factors to focus on, OHS recommends that employers follow specific safety regulations while it’s the responsibility of employees to adhere to other safety standards.

Safety Tips for Employers to Follow

Keeping employees safe creates a positive and efficient workplace. Also, following OHS regulations prevent businesses from ending up in time-consuming and expensive lawsuits. Here are helpful safety tips meant for employers.

Provide a Safe Workplace

It’s an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace for all employees. A safe work area should be free from slipping and falling hazards, including wet floors, trash pile-ups, and wires or cables.

Depending on a business’s industry, it might regularly store and use hazardous chemicals and materials. If so, OSHA requires your company to use industry-specific safety signs and symbols. These indicators prevent employees from improperly storing or working with potentially dangerous chemicals.

Conduct Regular Safety Training

It’s an employer’s responsibility to ensure employees complete job-related training. Most companies conduct training for new hires, regardless of how much experience and education these people have.

Even after employers onboard new employees, extensive safety training should always be in place. Great safety training programs cover general employee well-being and performing job-related duties safely.

It’s also imperative for employers to update their safety training to include new technologies and more effective strategies that lead to safer overall employees.

Outfit Workers With Safety Gear

It’s also an employer’s responsibility to pay for and provide safety and protective gear to employees, sometimes called personal protective equipment (PPE). Wearing PPE while working keeps workers safe from various hazards and injuries.

Employers must also:

  • Identify which employees need what protective equipment.
  • Train employees on how to use their safety gear properly.
  • Replace worn or otherwise damaged safety equipment.
  • Regularly review the overall effectiveness of their PPE programs.

Focus on Ergonomics

A large portion of physical work requires using the body’s musculoskeletal system. Unfortunately, repeated motions performed on the job can lead to employees developing musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). Activities involving lifting, pulling, reaching, and bending can all cause MSDs.

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With MSDs contributing to employees calling into work and employers losing productivity, many companies use ergonomic training to combat this problem. Ergonomic training teaches employees how to perform work-related motions safer, easier, and more efficiently.

How Employees Can Stay Safe at Work

Employees who stay safe at work deal with less downtime, lower medical costs, and fewer lost wages. Workers can remain safe by keeping the following safety tips in mind.

Report Unsafe Working Conditions

Even with security cameras, it takes work for business leaders to know what’s happening across every square foot of their companies. That’s why an employee’s responsible for reporting unsafe working conditions.

Your employer should have an internal system for employees to report workplace safety incidents. If an employer doesn’t have a way to report safety and health issues or an employee feels it isn’t taking these concerns seriously, employees can file a complaint with OSHA.

Stay Aware of Your Surroundings

Employees typically work around heavy machinery, other people, or hazardous chemicals. So, a significant component of employee safety involves these people always staying aware of their surroundings.

Here are several things every employee should check before working:

  • Nothing impairs an employee’s ability to see or hear (sunglasses, headphones, etc.)
  • There’s enough space for an employee to work safely.
  • An employee’s work area features adequate lighting.
  • An employee’s tools and equipment work properly.

Maintain Clean Work Areas

These days, employees can create work areas in offices, worksites, out in the field, and many other areas. Typically, work areas contain the tools and equipment employees need to perform their assigned duties. They’re also where employees spend most of their workweek.

Having employees keep their workspaces clean prevents bacteria, mold, and pests from entering a company’s building. If left unchecked, unclean work areas can also cause sicknesses to spread quickly throughout an office.

Employees regularly cleaning their work areas also prevents trash from piling up, which can create fire and tripping hazards.

Take Breaks

Most full-time employees work shifts spanning anywhere from eight to twelve hours. When employees are on the job, companies must allow them to take regular breaks throughout their shifts by law.

As an employee, you might falsely assume that not taking breaks makes you look more productive. However, employees working long stretches without breaks often become liabilities. A recent study from Red Bull and Glassdoor reported that 66% of workers in the U.S. make mistakes at work due to being tired.

Taking breaks gives employees a break from performing physical tasks. Stepping away from work areas also gives workers much-needed mental breaks. This time also lets employees eat, rehydrate, and catch up with personal events.

When employers and employees work together, everyone enjoys a safe workplace. Employers benefit from having safe and healthy workers needing less sick time. Employees avoid painful injuries and deal with less stress.