What are OSHA Standards?

What are OSHA safety standards?

At their highest level, OSHA standards are requirements for employers that make safety and health policies for their workers necessary. These standards also encourage workers to be active in the formation of these policies.

As for specific standards, there could be many OSHA safety regulations that employers are responsible for in their workplace, depending on the industry. These standards may vary but are all common in that they are set to protect workers.

If there is a workplace hazard or policy that an employer needs to address to staff as part of a safety program, the employer would need to check for specific OSHA standards regarding the potential hazard or policy.

The use of OSHA compliant safety signs can be an effective reminder of hazards and a way to remove workers from hazardous situations. Safety signs, along with any required equipment and training, help to create a comprehensive safety plan.

Of the standards that are cited most often for violations, fall protection in construction, lockout/tagout, and respiratory protection are often found as top violations each year.

The OSHA 1926.501 standard, titled Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, subpart Fall Protection, explains the requirements for employers to provide fall protection systems for workers. Areas included are workplaces with unprotected sides and edges, holes, roofs, and other situations where fall protection systems are necessary.

Sections of this specific standard explain when systems like personal fall arrest and safety net systems are required, along with other methods of fall protection.

Safety sign requirements are found in a separate standard, OSHA 1926.200.

Some lockout/tagout programs are discussed in the OSHA 1910.147 standard. In this standard, requirements are set for the control of machines and equipment that, upon start up or the release of stored energy, could harm workers.

Other standards, such as OSHA 1910.261 and OSHA 1910.269, cover lockout/tagout programs for specific industries like mills and electric power generation.

OSHA 1910.134 covers respiratory protection, a specific type of personal protective equipment, for general industry, as well as construction, longshoring, shipyards, and marine terminals.

Proper respiratory protection could prevent workers from breathing contaminated air. This standard also provides an appendix with information for employees that use respiratory protection when the protection is not required under the standard, but is encouraged for additional protection.

Where can I find OSHA standards?

OSHA standards are newly introduced, updated, and revised throughout the year. For a full list of current OSHA standards, visit OSHA’s website

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