Introduction to OSHA 101
Introduction to OSHA 101 provides an overview of the purpose of OSHA and how its standards and guidelines affect employers and employees. While some states and industries have their own safety regulations, most workplaces in the U.S. are covered by OSHA. OSHA standards are enforceable by law and have greatly improved workplace safety. Compliance with OSHA standards is verified through inspections and recordkeeping, which have specific steps and requirements. Both employers and employees are entitled to legal rights and must uphold responsibilities regarding OSHA standards.
Manufacturing professionals benefit from basic knowledge about OSHA's purpose, standards, and practices. Violations of OSHA standards are punishable by law and render the workplace unsafe for all personnel. After completing this course, users will have a basic awareness of the standards, rights, and responsibilities that bolster workplace safety and keep the workplace legally compliant.
Number of Lessons 20
- OSHA Coverage
- OSHA Standards
- Review: OSHA Basics
- Compliance and Inspection
- Inspection Priorities
- Inspection Steps
- Employee Involvement in Inspections
- Review: OSHA Inspections
- Employer Responsibilities
- Employer Rights
- Employee Responsibilities
- Employee Rights
- Review: Rights and Responsibilities
- Statistics and Reporting
- Recordable Incidents
- Information and Training
- Final Review
- Define OSHA.
- Distinguish between workplaces that are and are not covered by OSHA.
- Describe OSHA standards.
- Describe common hazards covered by OSHA standards.
- Describe OSHA compliance and inspections.
- List the order of priorities for OSHA inspections.
- List the steps in an OSHA inspection.
- Describe the involvement of employees in OSHA onsite inspections.
- Describe employer safety responsibilities established by OSHA.
- Describe the employer rights granted by OSHA.
- Describe employee safety responsibilities established by OSHA.
- Describe the employee rights granted by OSHA.
- Define "variance." Distinguish between the types of variances.
- Describe the effect that OSHA has had on workplace accidents. Describe OSHA recordkeeping and reporting requirements for employers.
- Describe recordable incidents.
- Describe methods of obtaining further information on workplace safety.
A corrosive chemical compound. Acids can damage materials and living tissue on contact.
American National Standards Institute
ANSI. A private, non-profit organization that administers and coordinates voluntary standards and systems. The American National Standards Institute writes nationally approved standards for the manufacturing industry.
A loss of a limb. Amputations that occur from work-related accidents are part of the OSHA inspection priority for serious injuries and illnesses.
Without identifying the person responsible. Employees may anonymously file complaints to OSHA.
A naturally occurring substance that may be harmful to employees. Biological hazards may include mold, human waste, or bloodborne pathogens.
Any microorganism present in human blood and other bodily fluids that can cause disease. Bloodborne pathogens include the hepatitis B virus, hepatitis C virus, and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
A colorless, odorless, poisonous gas made of carbon and oxygen. Carbon monoxide can be produced by some manufacturing processes and can be deadly in areas with poor ventilation.
A substance or mixture of substances that is harmful to employees. Chemical hazards include substances in the form of liquids, vapors, fibers, or dust.
A legal order to appear before a judge or committee or to pay a fine. Citations are issued by OSHA for noncompliance with safety standards.
The final step of an OSHA compliance inspection. During the closing conference, the compliance officer discusses the hazards discovered during the inspection.
A report made by employees that alerts OSHA about a hazardous condition at a worksite. Complaints are the third priority for OSHA inspections, and employees who file a complaint have the right to remain anonymous.
The act of upholding standards and regulations. Compliance is required by law for all OSHA standards relevant to a given industry.
An OSHA representative who enforces OSHA standards. Compliance officers conduct inspections and investigations.
The program through which OSHA enforces its standards. Inspection is at the center of the compliance program.
A chemical solid, liquid, or gas capable of irreparably harming living tissues or damaging material on contact. Corrosive chemicals include acids and certain organic materials.
An official proclamation by a judge that establishes the legal relationship between two parties or requires a party to do to not do something. Court orders can be obtained by compliance officers in order to gain entry to a worksite.
Department of Labor
DOL. The U.S. cabinet department in charge of work-related issues. The Department of Labor exists to foster employees' welfare, improve working conditions, and promote opportunities for profitable employment.
A circuit or electrical system component that is at risk of causing an electric shock to employees. Electrical hazards can be detected through arc flash hazard analyses.
The administrative responsibilities an employer must fulfill to prevent injuries or address them when they occur. Employer requirements include warning employees about safety hazards, providing medical treatment for workplace accidents when needed, paying for and provide PPE, and conducting safety training.
A physical factor within the environment that harms the musculoskeletal system. Ergonomic hazards include uncomfortable workstation height and poor body positioning.
A single physical location where business is conducted or where services are performed. One employer may have multiple establishments.
A limited exception to or temporary deviation from an OSHA standard granted in order to test alternative safety practices. Experimental variances must be approved by the Secretary of Labor or the Secretary of Health and Human Services before testing begins.
A daily publication of the U.S. federal government that documents proposed and final administrative policies issued by various federal agencies. The Federal Register publishes all new, proposed, and updated OSHA standards.
A fiber-reinforced composite made of extremely fine strands of glass. Fiberglass has many different applications, including those in the aerospace, automotive, marine, and construction industries, but the glass strands can cause irritation to exposed skin or, when inhaled, the respiratory tract.
One-time, short-term medical treatment that is administered immediately after an injury or health event, given at the location where the event occurred. First aid, such as bandaging small cuts or treating minor burns, requires little technology or training to administer.
Capable of easily and quickly catching fire. Flammable items ignite at low temperatures.
An inspection that confirms the resolution of past violations. Follow-ups are lower priority than inspections in response to death, imminent danger situations, referrals, or complaints.
An OSHA form that summarizes annual work-related injuries and illnesses. Form 300A allows employees to see injury and illness statistics for their workplace.
general duty clause
A statement within the OSH Act that establishes that OSHA protections apply even to situations for which there are no specific standards. The general duty clause requires employers to furnish places of employment that are free from recognized health and safety hazards.
A term used by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to describe all industries that are not related to agriculture, construction, or maritime industries. General industry standards are enforced by OSHA and apply to most employers in the United States.
The minimum responsibilities an employer must fulfill to promote workplace safety. General requirements include evaluating workplace conditions, keeping the workplace free from recognized hazards, and cooperating with OSHA compliance officers.
An optional OSHA recommendation that suggests further safety practices beyond the requirements in a standard. Guidelines do not incur penalties for non-compliance.
The responsibilities an employer must fulfill when a hazard is identified. Hazard requirements include minimizing or eliminating potential hazards, reporting actual accidents and fatalities, and correcting cited violations.
A source of danger or possible injury. Hazards can be physical hazards like falling objects or health hazards like chemical exposures.
imminent danger situations
A hazardous work condition that is very likely to cause a fatality or serious injury. Imminent danger situations are the highest priority for OSHA inspections.
A report written by OSHA's Assistant Regional Director that evaluates a compliance officer's decision not to perform an inspection or issue a citation. An informal review can confirm, modify, or reverse the compliance officer's original decision.
A medical event that requires a patient to stay in a hospital at least 24 hours for treatment. In-patient hospitalizations that occur from work-related accidents are part of the OSHA inspection priority for serious injuries and illnesses.
The examination or observation of a workplace or process to ensure that it meets all requirements in relevant OSHA standards. Inspections ensure worksites meet safety and health standards and address any lapses in compliance.
A temporary exception to or allowed deviation from an OSHA standard while OSHA conducts a formal review of a request for a temporary or permanent variance. Before OSHA grants interim orders, employers must have an alternative means of compliance in place.
Decreased or modified job duties required due to a medical condition. Light duty allows an employee to heal from an injury, illness, or surgery.
MSDs. A type of injury affecting the muscles, joints, bones, and related body parts. Musculoskeletal disorders can cause pain, numbness, and permanent damage to parts of the body.
national defense variances
A reasonable exception to or deviation from an OSHA standard granted to avoid serious impairment to national defense. National defense variances are rare and must be evaluated by a variance hearing if they are in effect longer than six months.
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. A federal research agency tasked with researching and developing workplace health and safety recommendations. NIOSH has researched workplace hazards to determine exposure limits.
An unwanted sound that is capable of harming hearing. Noise is hazardous when it is loud, sustained, or occurs at an extremely high, or ultrasonic, pitch.
notice of contest
A letter written by an employer to OSHA that formally documents the employer's disagreement with inspection findings or citations. A notice of contest can potentially help employers dispute citations and fines.
Occupational Safety and Health Act
OSH Act. A law passed in 1970 to assure safe and healthy working conditions. The Occupational Safety and Health Act established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and its authority to oversee workplace safety and health through standards, enforcement, research, education, and training.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
OSHA. A government agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that sets the standards for safe working conditions in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration ensures that employees work in safe and healthy environments.
A service that allows experts to visit a worksite in order to help employers identify hazards, comply with standards, and improve safety programs. Onsite consultations are free for small- and medium-sized business and do not result in citations.
The third step of an OSHA compliance inspection. During the opening conference, the compliance officer explains the purpose of the inspection, obtains worksite information, and allows the employer to select company representatives for the inspection.
Occupational Safety and Health Act. A law passed in 1970 to assure safe and healthy working conditions. The OSH Act established OSHA and its authority to oversee workplace safety and health through standards, enforcement, research, education, and training.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration. A government agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that sets the standards for safe working conditions in the United States. OSHA ensures that employees work in safe and healthy environments.
OSHA Outreach Training Program
OSHA's primary system of training employees on the basics of occupational safety and health. The OSHA Outreach Training Program provides online certification in four different subject areas.
OSHA Training Institute Education Centers
OTI Education Centers. Independently run, non-profit regional training centers that perform OSHA-approved safety training. OSHA Training Institute Education Centers certify outreach trainers and provide training on advanced topics.
paperwork and recordkeeping requirements
The responsibilities an employer must fulfill to maintain reports and other safety documents. Paperwork and recordkeeping requirements include displaying OSHA information posters, procedures, and citations, keeping reports of accidents and illnesses, and providing copies of OSHA standards to employees who request them.
A constant, unchanging exception to or allowed deviation from an OSHA standard that has a continuous duration. Permanent variances are granted if the workplace is as safe as it would be under the standard.
personal protective equipment
PPE. Any piece of clothing or device used to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injuries. Personal protective equipment may include safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes.
A quality or condition of workplace surroundings that causes injury without direct contact. Physical hazards include sun exposure, extreme temperatures, noise, and radiation.
An infographic reference sheet published by OSHA. Posters like the "Job Safety and Health—It's the Law" poster must be displayed by all employers.
Personal protective equipment. Any piece of clothing or device used to minimize exposure to hazards and prevent injuries. PPE may include safety glasses, hard hats, and steel-toed shoes.
The first step of an OSHA compliance inspection. During preparation, compliance officers research a worksite's operations, its inspection history, and any relevant standards.
The second step of an OSHA compliance inspection. During presentation, compliance officers show their credentials to an employer, request entry to the worksite, and, if necessary, present a warrant.
Any employer that is not a part of a governmental body. The private sector includes most companies and businesses.
Any employer that is a department or agency of a governmental body. The public sector includes all employees whose wages are paid by taxes.
A type of energy emitted in the form of particles or waves. Radiation includes sound, light, and electromagnetic waves and is most dangerous in the form of ionizing radiation.
Any work-related injury or illness that must be recorded under OSHA standards. Recordable incidents either cause or contribute to a health condition or significantly aggravate a preexisting condition.
A reasonable alternative to an OSHA recordkeeping procedure. Recordkeeping variances must provide documentation with the same information as that required by recordkeeping standards.
A report made by sources outside of a workplace, such as the media or local industries, that alerts OSHA about a hazardous condition at a worksite. Referrals are a lower priority for OSHA inspections than employee complaints.
A duty to uphold safety standards that is federally mandated by OSHA. Responsibilities are assigned to both employers and employees.
To fire, discipline, or otherwise attack an employee for exposing unsafe or illegal business practices. Under the OSH Act, it is illegal for employers to retaliate against employees who file a complaint.
A protection that is granted by OSHA to uphold fair, consistent enforcement of safety standards. OSHA defines rights for both employers and employees.
A group that employees form in order to monitor and promote workplace safety. A safety committee may review OSHA standards, enforce safety compliance at a worksite, and aid an OSHA compliance officer during an inspection.
A condition or feature of a workplace that may result in an injury or illness upon contact. Safety hazards include slippery surfaces, broken or missing walkway railings, and flying debris.
Secretary of Health and Human Services
The head of the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary of Health and Human Services exerts control over the U.S. government agency charged with protecting the health of citizens.
Secretary of Labor
The head of the Department of Labor. The Secretary of Labor exerts control over the department and takes part in suggesting and enforcing laws.
Working for oneself as a freelancer or as the owner of a business rather than for an employer. Self-employed people often are not legally required to follow OSHA standards.
severe injuries and illnesses
An accident involving a death, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. Severe injuries and illnesses must be reported within eight hours for deaths or 24 hours for other incidents and are one of the top priorities for OSHA inspections.
An established policy regarding a particular practice or method. Standards created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are legally binding.
A law passed by an organization, institution, or legislative body. Statutes include the OSH Act and other laws that establish safety policies in industries like mining and atomic energy.
A routine inspection of a high-hazard industry or a worksite with a history of accidents. Targeted inspections are lower priority than inspections in response to death, imminent danger situations, referrals, or complaints.
An exception to or allowed deviation from an OSHA standard that has a limited duration. Temporary variances are granted to employers unable to comply with a standard by its effective date.
A substance that could cause serious injury, harm, or death to a human if inhaled, swallowed, or allowed to come into contact with skin. Toxic substances include lead and diesel exhaust.
Proprietary information that includes formulas, practices, processes, designs, instruments, patterns, or other techniques with inherent economic value. Trade secrets that are discovered during an OSHA inspection must be kept confidential by compliance officers.
A group that employees form in order to protect their positions and rights in the workplace. Unions often promote employee safety and negotiate for a range of workplace benefits.
An exception to or allowed deviation from an OSHA standard. Variances are granted to employers who are unable to meet a standard or who have provided approved alternative safety measures.
A legal proceeding during which an employer can argue for the merit of a variance or challenge the denial of a variance. Employees have the right to be informed when their employer participates in a variance hearing.
The fourth step of an OSHA compliance inspection. During the walkaround, the compliance officer physically examines the workplace for hazards and speaks with employees.
A document issued by a legal or government official authorizing an official action. OSHA compliance officers can obtain warrants to legally enter and inspect any worksite.
A federal labor law that protects employees who reveal a person or organization's illegal practices. Whistleblower protections prevent most employees who expose safety violations from being retaliated against by their employer.