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What is OSHA?

Written by Steve Hudgik

What is OHSA? When a worker fatally falls 35 feet without protection, it's OSHA that steps forward to record and report the accident. What is OHSA? When three workers, one each in Iowa, Michigan and North Dakota, suffocate in a grain bin accident, it's OSHA that posts a notice on its homepage to alert other farm workers to the enormous dangers within a grain bin. What is OHSA? When a construction worker's cable snaps and he falls 40 feet to his death, it's OSHA that reminds workers of standards for working with cables.

What is OHSA? OSHA is the federal agency responsible for keeping American workers safe. In 1970 Congress passed the OSH Act with the goal of providing safe and healthy working conditions for every working man and woman in the United States. Today OSHA's role is to decrease fatalities and accidents by setting and enforcing standards, providing training, and continuing to make the workplace safe and healthy.

Reporting and Recording Workplace Accidents

What is OHSA? Since the creation of OHSA workplace fatalities have decreased by 60%. Even so, every year nearly 5,000 workers die in a workplace accident. That's nearly 15 deaths per day.

  • 41 percent of occupational fatalities occurred during a transportation incident
  • 17 percent occurred after a worker came into contact with an object or equipment
  • 15 percent occurred as a result of a fall
  • The remaining 12 percent of deaths were the result of chemical or environmental exposures (9 percent) and fires or explosions (3 percent)
  • Lastly, 15 percent of all occupational fatalities are the consequences of assault and other violent acts in the workplace

What is OHSA's Benefit to Business?

When employees practice safety habits businesses benefit. Their workers' compensation costs decrease, medical costs decrease, payout for return-to-work programs decrease, fewer faulty products, and lower costs for job accommodations for injured workers. There are also indirect benefits such as increased productivity, lower costs for training replacement workers and decreased costs for overtime plus improved morale.

What Is OHSA's Most Site Standard?

The following is a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards following inspections of worksites by federal OSHA. OSHA publishes this list to alert employers about these commonly cited standards so they can take steps to find and fix recognized hazards addressed in these and other standards before OSHA shows up. Far too many preventable injuries and illnesses occur in the workplace.

Most Common Non-Compliance Accidents

  1. Scaffolding
  2. Fall Protection
  3. Hazard Communication
  4. Respiratory Protection
  5. Ladders
  6. Lockout/Tagout
  7. Electrical, Wiring Methods
  8. Powered Industrial Trucks
  9. Electrical, General Requirements
  10. Machine Guarding

What Is OSHA's Safety Record?

Since the creation of OSHA, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 60 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined 40 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has more than doubled and now includes over 115 million workers at 7.2 million worksites.

Since 1970, the nation has made substantial progress in occupational safety and health. OSHA and its many partners in the public and private sectors have:

  • Cut the work-related fatality rate to historic lows for 2002 to 2004
  • From 2003 to 2004, reduced the number of workplace injuries and illnesses by 4 percent and lost workday case rates dropped by 5.8 percent in that same period
  • In 2005, OSHA conducted close to 39,000 inspections and issued just over 85,000 citations for violations
  • In 2004, the Consultation Program made over 31,000 visits to employers

Workplace injuries and illnesses can have a major impact on an employer's bottom line. Employers pay almost $1 billion per week for workers' compensation costs. If you'd rather practice prevention than cure, call Graphic Products at 1-888-326-9244. to find out how to start receiving the benefits of workplace safety.

The information presented in this document was obtained from sources that we deem reliable; Graphic Products does not guarantee accuracy or completeness. Graphic Products, Inc. makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied. Users of this document should consult municipal, state, and federal code and/or verify all information with the appropriate regulatory agency.

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