Business OSHA Checklist
Under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), all employers
are required to offer employees a workplace that is reasonably free and
clear from health and safety hazards. As an employer, it is your responsibility
to understand and enforce requirements, so you can maintain a safe working
environment for your employees. Below are the basics you need to know
in order to comply with OSHA requirements:
and Safety Programs
All employers are required to adopt a comprehensive health and safety
program for their workplace. Although specific requirements vary from
one industry to the next, OSHA encourages all employers to incorporate
the following components into an internal compliance program:
- Safety Communication System
- Hazard Assessment & Control
- Accident Investigation
- Safety Planning, Rules & Procedures
- Safety and Health Training and Education
- Recordkeeping and Documentation
- Management Leadership and Employee involvement
Employers with more than 11 employers are required to record injuries
and illnesses that occur within the workplace. Employers with ten or fewer
employees are exempt from this requirement, although there is an exception:
If your business is chosen by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to
participate in the Annual Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses,
you must comply with this requirement.
In general, there are two forms needed for OSHA recordkeeping: These include
the OSHA Form 300 to log
work-related injuries and illnesses, and the OSHA Form 301 to report accidents
and injuries to OSHA. Form 301 requests accident or injury information,
as well as healthcare provider information.
All incidents must be recorded within seven days, and kept on file for
a minimum of five years. When treatments are necessary, this information
must be logged; regardless of whether the treatment occurred on-site or
off-site. This also includes the time a worker spends in a hospital, where
Note: Certain industries are not required to maintain OSHA recordkeeping.
These include: retail, finance, insurance, real estate, and service industries
that maintain a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC).
OSHA mandates a Hazard Communication Standard (HCS). Under HCS, employers
are required to inform their workers of any potential dangers when working
with chemical hazards, and train them in preventative measures. This directly
applies to employers who produce or import chemicals, more so than employers
who utilize chemicals in the workplace.
Producers or importers of chemical materials must provide hazard information
to employers who purchase their products. Chemicals pose a wide range
of hazards for employees, and the purpose of HCS is to lessen or eliminate
these hazards. All employers must have a written workplace compliance
program that addresses the usage of chemicals, where applicable.
Every employer is required to post OSHA’s Job Safety and Health: It's
the Law poster. In addition, employers must post the OSHA
300A from February 1st through April 30th every year. Posting the
mandatory OSHA requirements educates and enforces regulations, and helps
protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities.
For your convenience, the LaborLawCenter offers the OSHA Safety Communication Poster: This poster contains the OSHA Job Safety
and Health: It’s the Law poster, and the required OSHA Log 300A on a single
OSHA conducts inspections without warning in order to enforce standards.
Although some industries are by default more prone to an OSHA inspection
vs. others, all employers should understand how to properly prepare for
an OSHA inspection.
All American workers have rights under OSHA. For example, workers have
the right to review the regulatory mandates an employer sets within the
workplace. In addition, all workers have the right to know the whereabouts
of their individual medical record, and are free to request access at
As an employer, know that your employees have the right to anonymously
request an OSHA inspection for your workplace. If unsafe working conditions
are found as a result of an OSHA inspection, then that employee (who requested
the inspection) is free from any discriminatory actions OSHA takes against
you as the employer.
OSHA encourages states to develop individual health and safety programs.
States must mandate health and safety standards that are, at minimum,
comparable to federal OSHA standards. If OSHA approves and monitors a
state’s plan, then it will cover up to 50% of the state’s operating costs
for the plan. If your state operates its own health and safety program
under OSHA, make sure you are aware of state requirements that differ
from federal mandates.
OSHA’s On-Site Consultation Service offers complimentary advice to small
and medium-sized businesses. Priority is given to businesses that possess
a higher volume of workplace hazards. Consultations are available upon
request by contacting OSHA.
Although OSHA largely funds this initiative, there is also involvement
from state governments. The initiative is designed to assist employers
with hazard identification and prevention measures, as well as health
and safety plan improvement. Consultations are separate from enforcement,
and will not result in fines or citations.
OSHA offers a Small Business Safety Management Series to assist small
businesses comply with OSHA requirements. For more information, visit
As a new employer, bring yourself up to speed on state and federal OSHA
requirements. Knowing what is required will save you time and money, and
help you avoid costly expenses, such as increasing insurance premiums,
penalties, turnover, and the risk of putting your employees in danger.
For more specific information OSHA requirements unique to your industry,
This article is not designed to infer legal counsel, but is rather an
OSHA requirement guideline for new businesses.
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