Occupational Health & Safety for HR: Policy & Standards

Instructor: Sherri Nash

Sherri’s teaching includes middle school through college. Degrees include bachelor’s marketing education, master’s adult education and doctorate in curriculum instruction.

Since accidents and unhealthy work environments impact employee lives and company profits, it's important to maintain a safe, healthy workplace. This lesson explores OSHA standards for developing and monitoring compliant policies and procedures.

Impact of Accidents and Unsafe Work Environments

Employers are legally responsible for safe and healthy work environments. Company policies and procedures must follow federal compliance standards to prevent injuries and fatalities. First, we will look at the statistics on unsafe workplaces, which is the reason compliance standards are required to protect employees.

Approximately 5,000 employees were killed in United States workplaces in 2013. Annually more than three million non-fatal accidents occurred on the job according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics. This number represents three percent of employees, or 3 out of 100, who suffer from workplace health issues or accidents.

These accidents and hazardous health issues impact employees personal lives and result in the loss of company productivity due to employee absences. Nationwide workplace injuries cost employers over $125 billion a year.

Employers must be proactive in preventing accidents, illnesses and fatalities. Assume you are the Human Resource Manager at Zippy Manufacturing. You are responsible for collaborating with management and/or the employee health and safety team to maintain a safe, healthy work environment. In order to accomplish this, you need to understand legal requirements to guide policies and procedures. Let's explore federal OSHA compliance standards required to prevent accidents, illnesses and fatalities.

OSHA Standards Structure

The Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) of 1970, through the United States Department of Labor, identifies standards to assure workplaces are safe from injury, illness or fatality. Company policies and procedures must be developed by understanding OSHA standards. Failure to comply can result in financial penalties.

OSHA law identifies standards that focus on health and safety for employee protection for specific industries. Industries include Agriculture, Construction, Maritime, and Federal Programs. Additionally, OSHA General Industry standards apply for all other industries. As Human Resource Manager at Zippy Manufacturing you determine that your industry is not related to agriculture, construction, maritime or federal programs. Therefore, you would use OSHA General Industry standards to guide policy and procedures.

Let's explore the OSHA General Industries standards classification structure. These standards are organized in topic sections, referred to as subparts, with a numbering system.

Subpart Number Standard
A 1910.01 - 1910.09 General Requirements
B-C 1910.11 - 1910.19 Adoption & Extension of Established Federal Standards
D 1910.21 - 1910.30 Walking & Working Surfaces
E 1910.33 - 1910.39 Exit Routes & Emergency Planning
F 1910.66 - 1910.68 Powered Platforms, Man lifts, & Vehicle Mounted Work Platforms
G 1910.94 - 1910.98 Occupational Health & Environmental Control
H 1910.101-1910.126 Hazardous Materials
I 1910.132-1910.138 Personal Protective Equipment
J 1910.141-1910.147 General Environmental Controls
K 1910.151-1910.152 Medical First Aid
L 1910.155-1910.165 Fire Protection
M 1910.166-1910.169 Compressed Gas & Air Equipment
N 1910.176-1910.184 Materials Handling & Storage
O 1910.211-1910.219 Machinery & Machine Guarding
P 1910.241-1910.244 Hand & Portable Powered Tools & Other Hand-held Equipment
Q 1910.251-1910.255 Welding, Cutting and Brazing
R 1910.261-1910.272 Special Industries
S 1910.301-1910.399 Electrical
T 1910.401-1910.440 Commercial Diving Operations
Z 1910.1000-1910.1450 Toxic & Hazardous Substances

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