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Understanding OSHA

Wherever there’s work to be done, there’s always the potential for it to go wrong. Accidents happen, and that means we’ve got to work to keep our job sites safe. That mission lies at the heart of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).  

OSHA is a name well-known in industry circles, and its presence is felt on nearly every job site. But what does it do? At Sunbelt Rentals, one of our primary objectives is to help our customers stay OSHA-compliant with equipment and supplies. That begins with a solid understanding of what OSHA is and how it can help.

Created with you in mind
It may seem hard to fathom now, but America’s workplaces used to be much more dangerous. Many of the protections we take for granted today didn’t always exist. By the mid-20th century, thousands of workers were dying on the job every year, and even more were injured and disabled as the result of poor working conditions and oversight.

Eventually, public awareness reached a breaking point, and legislators responded by passing the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, which President Richard Nixon signed into law. That act laid the foundation for the agency known as OSHA to establish and enforce safety standards for the workplace.

Since those early days, OSHA has worked tirelessly as part of the U.S. Department of Labor to alleviate safety risks, which has resulted in a sharp decrease in fatalities and injuries.

Keep your eyes on surprise 
One of the ways OSHA has had an immediate impact on workplace safety has been through recordkeeping. Sometimes, serious accidents can seem to happen out of nowhere, but when you collect and analyze data, you can identify trends and create a path to prevention going forward.  

Today, OSHA requires all employers to report fatalities and other serious injuries within a certain timeframe: 8 hours for deaths, and 24 hours for in-patient hospitalizations, eye loss, and amputations. This information helps authorities monitor trends, maintain standards, and step in when necessary. 

Stand up for standards
OSHA is more than an informational resource on safety. It sets the standards for each industry to foster a safer workplace for every American. 

Those standards vary, depending on the actual work being performed. In many cases, the information contained within those standards covers job preparation and supplies, so you’ll want to ingrain OSHA practices into your projects beginning with planning.

For instance, everybody knows construction sites can get loud, but it isn’t just something that comes with the territory. It’s an occupational hazard, and OSHA mandates apply. In this case, employers need to know when their workers will be subjected to high sound levels and have hearing protection in place well in advance. 

They really mean it 
OSHA standards can sometimes prompt wholesale changes to a business and its crew, and that is often a source of frustration. But it’s important to remember that OSHA standards aren’t guidelines that employers can adopt when it suits them. Compliance is required and readily enforced, with inspections and stiff penalties

On-site inspections generally happen without warning, so staying vigilant is the only way to stay prepared. It’s better to put in a little more work than to incur a costly citation. 

Spread the word
Training is another key component of OSHA compliance. This is especially true for heavy machinery. Workers and operators need to be aware of all the pertinent requirements, and the more you can make them abundantly clear with signage, the better off you’ll be. 

You have another ally
When it comes time to execute OSHA standards, you can depend on Sunbelt Rentals as a resource. Workplace safety drives many of the rental needs for our customers, and our team can help accommodate all of them, from equipment specifications to personal protective equipment, such as hard hats and toe guards

Because training is a crucial line of defense against occupational hazards, we also proudly offer a full suite of safety training courses geared toward OSHA compliance. Learn more about our programs today. 


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