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What OSHA Regulations Do I Need to Know About for My Business?


Question: What OSHA Regulations Do I Need to Know About for My Business?
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) requires employers to keep their work environments safe for workers. The Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), within the Department of Labor. Some states have their own OSHA laws which supersede the federal law. To find which law controls your state, check out this chart showing state-approved OSHA plans. If your state is not on the list, it is controlled by federal regulations.

OSHA regulations apply to all businesses having one or more employees.


To comply with OSHA regulations, you must:

  • Inspection Allow OSHA to inspect your business. The inspection may be unannounced or as a result of an employee complaint. You have a right to accompany the OSHA inspector during the inspection. The inspector has a right to inspect all areas of your business for possible violations, not just the area of the complaint. Include information about inspections in your employee training program.
  • Poster Inform workers of their rights under OSHA. Most important, you must must have an OSHA-compliant poster displayed for employees. Look on this OSHA Posters page for the "It's the Law" poster.
  • Hazardous Substances Provide workers with information on identifying hazardous substances in the workplace and training on how to treat injuries from these substances. All hazardous substances will have Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS). You must obtain these sheets from the manufacturers, keep them in a place where employees can find and refer to them, and train employees on how to read them to find information on treating injuries.
  • First Aid/Blood-borne Pathogens Provide workers with information on first aid procedures, and protection against blood-borne pathogens in the workplace. Blood-borne pathogens training is required for workers who have "occupational exposure" to these blood-borne pathogens (such as medical workers, emergency workers, and others), but should also be given to all workers, so they know how to deal with blood-borne pathogens in case of an emergency.
  • Fire/Egress/Emergencies Provide workers with training on how to deal with fires and other emergencies, including means of egress (getting out of buildings safely) and use of fire fighting equipment.

Most Important: Training OSHA requires that you set up an OSHA training program and that you train all employees at hire and then least once a year on the areas noted above.

Finally, OSHA requires that employers not take action against employees who file complaints alleging OSHA violations.

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