OSHA's role is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach, and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual process improvement in workplace safety and health.
According to OSHA, common types of health hazards at the workplace are:
- Chemical (asbestos, solvents, chlorine)
- Biological (tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis, molds)
- Physical (noise, heat and cold, radiation, vibration)
- Ergonomics or Repetitive Strain Injuries (carpal tunnel syndrome,back injuries)
- Psychological (stress)
Osha Inspection Priorities
- First is Immediate Danger
- Second are fatalities or accidents serious enough to send three or more employees to the hospital.
- Third are employee complaints.
- Fourth are referrals from other government agencies.
- Fifth are targeted inspections-such as the Site Specific Targeting Program, which focuses on employers that report high injury and illness rates, and special emphasis programs that zero in on hazardous work such as trenching or equipment and mechanical power presses.
- Follow-up inspections are the final priority.
In the healthcare and dental care industry, employee complaints and referrals are most common. Details of 2012-2013 OSHA Inspection Statistics including sample OSHA Inspection report,
- OSHA penalties range from $0 to $70,000, depending upon how likely the violation is to result in serious harm to employees.
- Other-than-serious violations often carry no penalties but may result in penalties of up to $7,000.
- Serious violations may have penalties up to $7,000.
- Repeat and willful violations may have penalties as high as $70,000.
- Penalties may be discounted if an employer has a small number of employees, has demonstrated good faith, or has few or no previous violations.
OSHA compliance broadly covers two major components: training and record keeping. OSHA allows employers to meet these compliance challenges by keeping hard copies of record keeping documents or in download formats provided you give easy access to the employees. MSDS or SDS sheets can also be kept online. Employee training is mandatory. Training can be provided in an online format or in a classroom setting where an instructor knowledgeable in OSHA clarifies participants questions. OSHA does not require employees to have certificates to show proof they have been trained. Employer records of employee training is sufficient proof that the employees have been trained.