OSHA Empowers Employees

Traditionally, organization’s management had the role of designing and implementing safety rules without the necessary participation of the employees. The system was straightforward and often not to the benefit of the employees. However today, revised regulations on workplace safety have emphasized on the involvement of employees by recognizing that they are the major players and they have to feel that they are major players in the rules. OSHA’s stipulations have played a major role in empowering the employees and putting them at the front row when it comes to devising and implementing safety strategies.

Employees’ rights

OSHA standards make it mandatory for the employees to be adequately trained on the various measures put in place to safeguard their safety. An employee has a right to constantly scrutinize the existing standards to ensure compliance. Indeed the employers are required to provide this information within 15 days after the request is placed. Employees also have a right to compel the employer to take the necessary measures to comply with OSHA standards and to address any arising violations. Employees also have a right to be involved in the process of designing safety standards and also in the implementation process; they should also participate in the inspection process to ascertain that the standards are being met. They are also empowered to petition OSHA should they feel continuously aggrieved and without any action by the employer to handle the grievances.

Employees’ responsibilities

While it is mandatory for the employers to safeguard the safety of the employees the employees also have a role to play and to ensure compliance. They should carefully read OSHA’s safety regulations and procedures. They should abide by the various safety rules and put on the protective gears provided by the employer. They should be at the forefront in following the procedures set out by the employer and also participate in the compliance assessment as far as highlighting the inadequacies in the safety systems is concerned.

Impact of these regulations

The general objective of OSHA’s standards is to safeguard the interest of the employee and ensure a safe and healthy work environment. The employee is a major stakeholder and should be guaranteed safety. The major implication of these standards is that they make the employee a part of the safety process and gives them the right not to work in a situation where they feel endangered in one way or another. Violation of the safety standards is actionable through a hefty fine on the side of the employer.

The employer’s duty

OSHA’s standards have shifted the burden of compliance and enforcement to the hands of the employer. The standards are broad and encompass every imaginable aspect of the workplace safety. There are regulations on having warning signs erected in places of potential hazards to ensure that employers are clearly and adequately informed of the dangers lurking in those zones. Containers containing hazardous materials should be adequately labeled with the content being revealed and the necessary course of action described. It is up to the employer to comply with these and many other standards and to ensure that they employees are adequately informed.

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