OSHA Regulations

The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 requires private sector employees to prepare and maintain records of work-related injuries and illness. Employers with 11 or more employees in the following industries must keep records: agriculture, forestry, fishing, construction, manufacturing, transportation, public utilities, and wholesale trade. Employers with 11 or more workers also must maintain an OSHA 200 log and report all accidents resulting in work-related death or 5 days of hospitalization or longer. In addition, employers are advised to follow general standards that include the evaluation and monitoring of physical hazards in the workplace. This requirement includes providing hazardous material training, establishing a respiratory protection program, and providing a hearing protection program (1,2).

The legislation that created OSHA applies to all eligible workplaces. However, an agricultural worker may be employed by a large multinational conglomerate that employs a staff of full-time professionals to administer safety programs or by a small family-owned farm that is not bound by federal OSHA regulations. Twenty-five U.S. states and territories operate their own "OSHAs." Employers in the following states and territories should contact their local agencies for regulatory statutes: Alaska, Arizona, California, Connecticut (covers state and local government employees only), Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York (covers state and local government employees only), North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Virgin Islands, Washington, and Wyoming. Individuals who are self-employed or are not directly covered by these regulations should still evaluate their work site for physical hazards.

Around the world, various countries have their own work injury reporting and prevention programs. The strongest are in Europe and Japan. Lack of consistency in rules and regulations between countries are a problem in companies with operations in the new global economy.

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