OSHA’s Priority Areas in Workplace Safety

The employer is obligated to ensure the workplace remains a safe place for the employees. He also has a responsibility of informing the workers of the various hazards within an organization. There are specific stipulations on how this is to be achieved. OSHA has elaborate specification on safety signs and appropriate markings to caution and forewarn employees of the dangers that lies in wait so as to ensure safety and prevent accidents in the workplace. To ensure compliance, constant inspections are carried out and the scheduling of these inspections is done according to the seriousness of the perceived hazards prioritizing the high hazard areas first. Each of the levels of priorities requires unique attention and a distinct recommended course of action.

Areas of impending danger

Areas found out to be looming with danger receive immediate priority. These are areas where there are reasonable grounds to believe that there are dangers lurking that might result to grievous harm to the employees.  Upon detection of any potential of imminent danger, signs of lack of proper monitoring or if there are reasons to believe that the dangers cannot be abated through usual procedures, OSHA officials will recommend the closure of the facility or section of it and the removal of the endangered employees. Failure to comply with this recommendation leads to the intervention of the court prohibiting the access to the said facility until the situation improves and the danger is abated.

Accident scenes

The second most prioritized area according to OSHA stipulations is an accident scene if such an accident results into death within the organization. Investigations are supposed to be launched immediately and it is the responsibility of the employer to file a report with OSHA officials not later than 8 hours after the catastrophe. The mandate of this organization, under such circumstances and upon receiving the report, is to undertake an investigation on the possible causes of the accident and whether there is any evidence of violation of the laid down rules and procedures. Any evidence of violation leads to harsh recommendations and strict enforcement of the standards.

Addressing of raised complaints

Third in line in terms of priorities is addressing any concerns raised formally by employees feeling unsafe in certain working conditions due to the presence of a number of unaddressed hazards. According to the act establishing OSHA, employees have a right to petition officials for an inspection if they believe they are being endangered by certain conditions in their workplace or if they have encountered evidence of non compliance with the standards.

Routine inspections

Routine inspections although of great significance are the least prioritized. OSHA, once in a while, carries out routine inspection in high-hazard industries or other workplaces to ascertaining compliance with the standards. The basis of selection of high priority areas is based on accident incidence rates, industries’ rate of staff complaints, history of non-compliance and random choosing. Follow-ups are also conducted once in a while to assess the level of compliance in organizations considered high risk and those with a history of previous accidents. Non compliance often attracts stiff penalties with recidivism attracting court intervention.


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