OSHA Examines Worker Safety And Compliance

August 8, 2002
/ Print / Reprints /
/ Text Size+
ANN ARBOR, MI — It was described as “a special one-day event for safety-minded professionals who want to learn about new and proposed OSHA (Occupational Health and Safety Administration) standards, confidently handle tough inspections, and ensure their company is in compliance with today’s OSHA.”

The conference, sponsored by Keye Productivity Center, brought together approximately 35 attendees from various industries and disciplines to learn more about OSHA compliance standards and inspection procedures.

Ken Zans of Ergonomic Solutions, Shawnee Mission, KS, presented four different seminars (which are described in detail on pages 1, 22, and 23).

Zans described himself as “the poster boy of the OSHA Act of 1970.” The act, which is officially known as the Williams-Stieger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, defines employers, employees, employer-employee relationships, and details who is covered (and not covered) by the act.

The act spells out the employer’s responsibilities to provide a safe workplace.

Before the act was established in 1970, about 90 million American workers had no comprehensive laws to protect them from workplace hazards. Twenty-five years later, records kept by the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a marked improvement in workplace safety. According to Zans, the U.S. workforce is 40% larger than it was in 1969, yet half as many workers are killed or injured.

Zans noted that the goal of business owners who wish to become OSHA compliant should include the following four “pillars”: record keeping, written safety and health plans, training programs (including new employee orientation), and documentation.

“OSHA will ask you how much time you focus on new employee training and how much time you plan on to conduct ongoing training,” said Zans. “If you have all of these pillars in place, you should be able to demonstrate to OSHA that your safety and health programs are in place, too.”


Zans went to great length to explain a very important section of the act, entitled the “General Duty Clause.” In his conference literature, Zans writes, “Because not all hazards can be foreseen by OSHA, and many areas defy consensus standards, the act includes the General Duty Clause. Its purpose is to require all employers to look for and abate hazards, even when OSHA has not created specific standards to cover them.

“In other words, OSHA does not need to show a standard in order to cite and fine an employer.”

The General Duty Clause carries penalties just as if it was a standard, and, according to Zans, violations of the clause draw millions of dollars in penalties each year.

“If something in the workplace is a serious hazard, it is against the law, even when there is no rule against it in the code,” Zans said. He added that ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that all employers and employees should share a general duty responsibility, even though OSHA only cites and fines the employers, not employees.

Zans added that all businesses must have a copy of the OSHA standards in the workplace. “Being able to access the standards online is not a substitute. The book must be physically on hand.”

Keye Productivity Center sponsors several OSHA Conferences every year. For more information, call 800-255-4141 or visit www.keyeproductivity.com (website).

Publication date: 08/12/2002

Did you enjoy this article? Click here to subscribe to The NEWS Magazine

Recent Articles by John Hall

You must login or register in order to post a comment.



Image Galleries

2014 World Energy Engineering Congress

Scenes from the 2014 World Energy Engineering Congress in Washington, D.C.


NEWSMakers: Jim Johnson

Jim Johnson,an experienced trade school and community college instructor, discusses the HVAC industry and his column in The NEWS, ‘The Service Ticket.’ Listen now for a hint to the Not Enough Heat question from the Dec. 15 issue. Posted Jan. 30.

More Podcasts


NEWS 01-26-15 cover

2015 January 26

Check out the weekly edition of The NEWS today!

Table Of Contents Subscribe

Regional Standards

With regional standards for a/c equipment going into effect in 2015, how do you think it will impact the industry?
View Results Poll Archive


2015 National Plumbing & HVAC Estimator

Every plumbing and HVAC estimator can use the cost estimates in this practical manual!

More Products

Clear Seas Research


Clear Seas ResearchWith access to over one million professionals and more than 60 industry-specific publications, Clear Seas Research offers relevant insights from those who know your industry best. Let us customize a market research solution that exceeds your marketing goals.


Magazine image
Register today for complete access to ACHRNews.com. Get full access to the latest features, Extra Edition, and more.


facebook icontwitter iconyoutube iconLinkedIn i con