The 6 most common OSHA requirements that applies to small business

April 27, 2022

OSHA requirements are a tricky part of business administration for many business owners. When it comes to defining which requirements apply to their businesses and which do not, the world of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) quickly becomes even more confusing.

Small business owners need to identify which OSHA requirements they must abide by. They need to understand which they are exempt from to avoid fines and legal trouble down the road.

Let’s review the OSHA requirements that apply to almost every employer. If you are a small business owner, you will have to abide by these requirements.

Here are the six most common OSHA requirements small business owners need to follow:

1. Hazard Communication

To abide by this requirement, employees need to be aware of any hazardous chemicals they encounter. They need to know how they can protect themselves against them. Employees must then fill out a form acknowledging they were made aware of this information. This must state they agree to follow any precautions necessary to avoid dangerous contact with these hazardous chemicals.

2. Emergency Action Plan

Employers need to have an emergency action plan if their business is required to have fire extinguishers or if their employees would evacuate during a fire. In other words, unless you are running a fire department, you need an emergency action plan. To abide by this requirement, employers must debrief their employees on how they would respond if a fire or other disaster occurred. This plan would include directions for evacuation in cases when employees would have to exit their place of work. It would consist of tips for where they would take cover within the building, for example, if a tornado would touchdown.

3. Fire Safety

Employers abide by this requirement by making employees aware of any materials on the worksite that could start or cause the spread of a fire. These materials include hazardous chemicals. Furthermore, employees must be mindful of any automatic fire extinguishers, such as sprinklers and fire alarms. Fire extinguishers will control the start or spread of a fire.

4. Exit Routes

To comply with this requirement, employers must have unobstructed, continuous exit routes that employees will use in the case of an emergency. Employers should also go over these routes with employees. Emergency exit routes help them know the quickest way out of the building to safety. Also, if these exit routes change, employers should update their employees immediately.

5. Walking/Working Surfaces

Employers must provide employees with appropriate personal fall protection devices. For example, fixed ladders or guardrails will prevent heights and falls from the same level. Employees should be trained on safely using personal fall protection devices. Devices should be inspected regularly. The primary goal of this requirement is to prevent slips, trips, and falls.

6. Medical and First Aid

Employers must provide employees with medical and first aid supplies to fulfill this requirement. Employees should also be informed where they can easily find these supplies should they need to utilize them. Depending on the nature of the work, employers may also be required to provide medical and first aid personnel and supplies. However, this is only typical for businesses where the position is more prone to danger and joint injuries, such as construction.

Small business owners should ensure that their small businesses currently abide by all of the OSHA requirements defined above.

If a small business owner’s employees take part in hazardous work, such as construction or result involving heavy machinery, they may be liable to comply with further requirements. However, they must keep in mind this is just a general overview, not an exhaustive list. For a list of additional OSHA requirements, click here.

Businesses that fail to comply with OSHA requirements face expensive fines and legal liability. When employees are injured while working at companies not following OSHA requirements, those businesses are held legally responsible for their injuries. These businesses must then pay to settle the claims brought on by the injured workers. They must pay any legal costs, such as attorney’s fees, on top of these already expensive fines.

Interpreting OSHA requirements is a time-consuming and often confusing process. Small business owners must take the time to create a comprehensive list of all OSHA requirements their business is liable to comply with. It is necessary to ensure the safety of their employees is never compromised. When employees can perform their jobs safely without the constant fear of injury, they can complete their work more effectively, and the businesses they work for the benefit.

PaySmart is a payroll provider located in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, supporting small businesses in the Central PA region. We are dedicated to helping small businesses take care of their payroll needs. To learn more information about how PaySmart may provide payroll solutions, please get in touch with us at 717-766-1777. Our New Client Concierge is waiting for you!