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Occupational Health and Safety Guide

Eric Ciechanowski
By Eric Ciechanowski
Last Updated: September 01, 2020

In response to public recognition of injury and fatality rates in the workplace, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA) was created on April 28, 1971. Since its formation, OSHA has been committed to directing its resources to reduce and prevent injuries, illnesses and deaths in all workplaces. OSHA accomplishes its goals through creating and enforcing workplace standards, providing employer and worker education and offering employer assistance and planning. Filled with more than 40 beneficial resources, this guide provided links to a wealth of information to empower employers, workers, students, teachers and others. Inside you’ll find resources about the development of occupational safety law, as well as employer resources, worker resources and much more.

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General Occupational Health and Safety Resources

Check out these general resources to learn more about workplace safety, the history of OSHA, how workplace safety rules are created and more.

Workplace Safety Toolkit — This site is packed with workplace safety tips and resources, including ideas for creating a culture of safety and identifying factors that contribute to an unsafe workplace.

Knowledge at Work — Come here for a wide range of workplace safety and occupational health information by subject matter experts.

Avoidable Workplace Health and Safety Hazards — This article by Inc. is a great primer for avoiding common safety pitfalls at work.

OSHA Timeline — A timeline detailing 40 years of OSHA’s accomplishments in the workplace, beginning with the signing of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 1970.

The Job Safety Law of 1970 — This informational article details the history that led to the creation of the Job Safety Law of 1970.

OSHA Standards Development — A detailed explanation of how OSHA standards are initiated and how they subsequently develop.

The OSHA Rulemaking Process — A colorful flowchart that explains the seven stages of the OSHA rulemaking process from conducting to preliminary activities to post-promulgation activities.

Employer Resources

As an employer, it’s your duty to provide a healthy and safe workplace for your employees. However, you don’t have to tackle the task alone. Use these resources to help you find your way.

Frequently Asked Questions for Employers — For employers who are interested in what it takes to comply with OSHA standards or exceed them, this is the perfect resource for finding answers to frequently asked questions on each topic.

Training Requirements in OSHA Standards — Find everything you need to know about OSHA’s requirements for training, in concise language, within this updated booklet.

Employer Responsibilities for Keeping Young and Temporary Workers Safe — Young workers include anyone who is age 24 and under. Find out how to keep this typically inexperienced population safe on the job.

All about OSHA — Interested in what OSHA is all about and how it operates? This booklet will give you a general overview.

General Industry Digest — A summary of the most frequently cited General Industry Safety and Health standards that cover the most hazardous situations can be found here.

Job Safety and Health Poster — A printable PDF version of OSHA’s Job Safety and Health poster that is required to be posted at the workplace.

Add Inequality to Injury: The Costs of Failing to Protect Workers on the Job — In this OSHA publication, learn about how many employers fail each year to prevent millions of work-related illnesses and injuries and the broken workers’ compensation system that often fails to prevent the burden of costs for illness and injury to workers.

Heat Illness Prevention Training Guide — Heat illness is serious, but it can be prevented with proper training. Gain access to information for training sessions and heat illness prevention posters here.

Steps to an Effective Hazard Communication Program for Employers — Within this OSHA fact sheet, discover the six steps employers can implement to create a successful hazard communication program.

OSHA QuickTakes Newsletter — The purpose of this free OSHA newsletter, which is published online twice a month, is to deliver the most current news regarding OSHA initiatives and products that will aid employers and workers in identifying and avoiding workplace hazards.

Most Frequently Cited Standards Across Industries — Find out the top 10 standards that federal OSHA most frequently cites after workplace inspections. This data can help employers be proactive in identifying and correcting these standard violations in their own workplace to successfully prevent injuries and illnesses.

Worker Resources

Find information about worker’s rights, data regarding illness, injury and fatality statistics and answers to the most frequently asked questions by workers in the links below.

Frequently Asked Questions for Workers — From questions and answers about bloodborne pathogens to those about workplace violence, this resource has you covered.

Worker’s Rights — This 32-page book provides a general overview of worker rights under the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)

Establishment Specific Injury and Illness Data — If you have an interest in knowing how likely it is to become ill or injured within your industry, try this tool. The database within this link allows anyone to search for specific injury and illness data for workplaces that reported to OSHA during the calendar years 1996-2011.

Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics — View work-related injury and illness incidence rates, characteristics and fatalities through this link.

OSHA Law and Regulations — The tools located within this link allow you to search for any current OSHA standard to help you know if your employer is in compliance.

State Resources

Some states have OSHA-approved state plans, which means that OSHA has deemed the state’s plan “at least as effective” as the Federal OSHA program. Find out which states have such a program as well as contact information for local OSHA offices and regional labor liaisons.

Table of OSHA-Approved State Plans — Find basic facts and information about the 28 OSHA-approved state plans, including links to details on each state’s coverage, standards and enforcement programs.

State Plans: Frequently Asked Questions — Whatever question you have about state plans, this link can help you find the right answer.

State Plan Contact Information — Easily locate physical addresses, phone numbers and fax numbers for all states who have an OSHA-approved state plan.

Map of OSHA Offices — Click on the interactive map of the United States to find the location of the nearest OSHA office.

State Programs for Worker Safety and Health Protection — Of the 50 states in the U.S., 34 have some type of state-level health and safety initiatives for their workers, some of which are not part of an OSHA-approved state plan. Find links to each state’s requirements here.

Regional Labor Liaisons — Find contact information for the labor liaison in your region. A labor liaison is helpful in navigating OSHA’s complaint procedures or organizational structure or if you need assistance in developing or updating workplace health and safety programs.

OSHA Legal Resources

The Occupational Health and Safety Administration exists to ensure that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. Find out how to file an initial complaint with OSHA and how you can get help if your employer retaliates against you.

How to File a Safety and Health Complaint — When you suspect or know that there’s a safety or health issue at your workplace, you have the right to file a confidential report with OSHA. Find out how here.

The Whistleblower Protection Programs — If your employer has retaliated against you for reporting them for safety or health concerns, it’s illegal. Find out how to file and submit a complaint online, by fax, by mail or by phone.

Whistleblower Statutes Desk Aid — This handy reference chart lists the statutes enforced by OSHA. They contain anti-retaliation provisions that prohibit employers from taking negative action against employees who have exercised their rights by filing a health or safety complaint.

Occupational Health and Safety for Young People

From a full curriculum to supplemental materials, you can find it all here. The links below provide helpful resources for instructors to use regarding youth worker safety and health issues in general and specific industries.

Teaching Young Workers about Job Safety and Health — Designed to address specific child labor rules and regulations in each state, this curriculum teaches students how to reduce injuries and illnesses within their occupation.

Work Safe Work Smart — Use this curriculum to teach high school students about occupational health and safety issues to help them avoid or reduce injury rates.

Young Worker Safety in Restaurants — Provide information to students about common restaurant hazards and potential ways to resolve them safely with the information in this link.

Youth in Agriculture Safety — Teach students how to identify agricultural hazards and be proactive in avoiding job-related accidents and injuries.

Construction Safety for Young Workers — Via the use of animated videos, OSHA has made it easy for instructors to demonstrate to young workers how quickly an injury or fatality can occur on the job. Use these videos to help students identify and prevent construction-related accidents.

Training for Youth Working in Restaurants and Nail Salons — Check out this link for teacher materials, helpful student handouts and PowerPoint presentations. Some materials are available in English, Vietnamese and Spanish.

Youth Rules: Preparing the 21st Century Workforce — From the U.S. Department of Labor, everything youth workers need to know about working in the U.S.

Occupational Noise Exposure — All the information you need to teach youth – or anyone – about the hazards of occupational noise.

Ergonomics for School Children and Young Workers — This informational article addresses safety for school children and youth workers in the areas of carrying backpacks, working at computers and working at various after-school jobs.

OSHA Cooperative Programs

OSHA developed the following cooperative programs to aid businesses and other organizations in working cooperatively with them to prevent illnesses, injuries and fatalities within the workplace.

OSHA Challenge — This program is focused on helping employers and workers to develop or improve their safety and health management program with the help of a Challenge Administrator.

Voluntary Protection Program — Employers and workers in private industry and federal agencies who have successfully implemented effective systems of safety and health management while maintaining below average injury and illness rates are recognized by this program.

Alliance Program — The Alliance Program offers groups committed to preventing workplace injuries, illnesses and fatalities an opportunity to work with OSHA to develop educational and informational tools for workers and employers.

Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) — Small business owners who have successfully used OSHA’s on-site consultation program services to provide an excellent injury and illness prevention program can receive acceptance into this program. Acceptance into SHARP designates worksites as a model for safety and health.