The launch of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) a half-century ago was a massive game-changer for labor law and federal business compliance. Its stipulations are critical to how companies in many industries do business and continue to broadly impact the lives of many workers. OSHA includes standards for safety so that employers can stay compliant with the law and provide a hazard-free workplace. OSHA also exists to provide education, outreach, and training, as well as to establish and enforce standards that maintain healthy, safe working conditions. The agency was created through Congress as one of the mandates of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.
Most companies must be OSHA-compliant and train their staff on key regulations. However, not all businesses must follow OSHA. Exempt organizations do not have OSHA training requirements. So, who has to follow OSHA?
We will look at who needs the training from a couple of perspectives, as well as ask the question, “Why is OSHA training important?”
Who has to Follow OSHA?
Do you need it?
The rules of OSHA apply unless you are exempt – and most for-profit companies and their workforces nationwide are not, so OSHA compliance is a part of most businesses.
Are you exempt?
These are the types of companies that are exempt from having to follow the parameters of OSHA:
Companies providing domestic services
Farms that only employ immediate family members
Businesses covered under other federal regulations, such as mining and nuclear power companies
Companies that are not conducting interstate commerce
State or federal agencies
Agriculture, construction, maritime & general industry
The four main categories of OSHA environments, according to the US Department of Labor, are agriculture, construction, maritime, and general industry. In other words, when we ask, “Who needs OSHA training?” these four categories are your basic answer. Here is a look at each category:
Anyone who either raises livestock or grows crops must follow OSHA agricultural regulations (unless exempt as covered above). Regulations in this industry apply to the management of many types of farm equipment and work in common farm settings.
Grain bins, silos, and vehicle operations are all regulated in the agricultural sector. There are also specific regulations on sanitation conditions, noise, heat, and the age of workers.
Exposure to chemicals and the sun are hazards of the job. Many workers experience lung disease or hearing loss.
When you think about who needs OSHA training, construction may be the first industry that comes to mind due to its substantial hazards.
Construction involves the building of structures, as well as repairing or changing them. Workers may be exposed to asbestos or fall from great heights. Another major way these workers are at risk is that they can be hit by heavy machinery, such as cranes, air tools, and aerial lifts. Knowing how to avoid these hazards is central to OSHA training requirements for construction.
Also, within the OSHA training requirements for construction is the mandate to educate employees on the potential dangers and the steps they need to take to stay safe. High-quality drinking water must be available at all construction sites, and any toxic substance exposure must be monitored.
You must give employees information on toxins and should have access to any medical records you obtain.
Three top ways people become injured who work in longshoring, marine terminals, or shipyards are the following:
Confined spaces and toxic chemicals
Falls, slips, and trips
Fire, equipment, and machine hazards.
Regulations and training within the maritime industry are intended to reduce the number of injuries that workers experience who are employed in the scrap, repair, or building of ships; or who move materials and cargo.
OSHA’s Maritime Advisory Industry is of special interest to companies in this sector. You can actually make recommendations to the federal government through this agency.
4.) General Industry
The general industry falls outside the above categories.
Executives should oversee the program to make sure that the environment is staying safe. They should initiate controls so new hazards do not emerge, along with measuring risks and identifying hazards. There should be OSHA training materials easily available to workers. The leadership should show that they are invested in the health and safety of their workers.
Primary activities that OSHA suggests to companies in general industry to improve their safety are:
Hazard prevention and control
Hazard analysis and identification
Program assessment and improvement
Why is OSHA training important?
Again, construction is one of the most critical sectors when it comes to who needs OSHA training. You can see how helpful OSHA training requirements are when you look at common ways people become injured and how much OSHA helped in reducing injuries.
Let’s look at OSHA construction training specifically. The training aims to minimize the industry’s four most common fatality hazards, which OSHA calls the Construction Focus Four:
Caught-in or -between hazards: When multiple objects or parts of objects compress, catch, pinch, squeeze, or crush a person, it is considered a caught-in or -between injury. These hazards lead to 1 in 10 (10% of) on-the-job deaths.
Electrocution hazards: Electrocution-related training is centered on determining that the charge is completely gone after circuits have been de-energized. This hazard results in over 1 in 10 (11% of) on-the-job deaths.
Struck-by hazards: Accounting for 24% of on-the-job fatalities, these hazards are an especially serious threat for those in heavy equipment or traffic environments. “Struck-by” includes flying objects, unsecured loads, and any other items that hit an employee after rolling, falling, or otherwise moving.
Fall hazards: You can fall on a working surface, through a hole, off scaffolding, or from roofs. The sector’s deadliest hazard, falls, are responsible for 34% of construction fatalities.
OSHA has noted that construction was a focus industry because it had a rate of on-the-job death three times more than other industries. OSHA has saved thousands of lives through its standards and training. In fact, with OSHA construction training and guidance, the workplace fatality rate dropped an incredible 63 percent from 1970 through 2017 (from 38 per day to 14 per day).
Who needs OSHA training? Do you?
Are you in need of OSHA compliance training and education? At Alpha-Omega Training and Compliance, our training classes are designed to ensure key safety competencies are understood and duplicated by each student. Contact us today to schedule your training courses.