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OSHA

July 28, 2011

Every year I fill out the 300 and 300A forms for OSHA and display them in the employee break room from February through April 30.  I keep a copy in my safety binder as well as the past seven years.  I do this because it is part of my loss prevention audit, and part of my human resource audit.  I know the basics about OSHA but am going to take the time to learn a great deal more.

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Act and was passed in 1970.  Its purpose is “to assure so far as possible every working man or woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources”   Every employer that has one or more employees is covered by the act, which provides benefits to the employees to ensure they are working conditions are safe.

OSHA takes an interest in every aspect of the working conditions.  The range is from hazards conditions to ergonomics. With hazards conditions OSHA established process safety management standards.  This requires the users of hazardous chemicals to evaluate, classify, and label the substances.  This information in then taken over to the material safety data sheets, or for short MSDS.  These sheets are useful to all business, whether chemicals are handled directly or not.  I work in retail and we make sure our employees know about MSDS.  When explaining why they are useful I give an example or what if statement.  What if a child eats an expo marker?  How hazardous is this to the child?  Thankfully, this hasn’t happened, and my company has easy access to sheets if needed.

Ergonomics is the study and design of the work environment to address physiological and physical demands placed on individuals.  This is where it matters if the employees have proper lighting, and the tools necessary for the job description.  One factor I wasn’t aware of until recently was carpal tunnel syndrome.  This can be a work related injury caused when the same muscles are used repetitively to perform tasks.  One way to minimize the risk is to train supervisors and managers on signs of CTD and how they should respond.

Safety should be the number one priority of business owners.  A safe working environment is more effective and more lucrative in the long run.  In my following posts I am going to be exploring all the different aspects of OSHA and what it can mean for businesses.

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