Employer Requirements

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify employer requirements under the Occupational Safety & Health Act (OSH Act)
Poster showing a worker's hand placed on top of a piece of machinery. "Never Brake a Machine with Your Hand, You Know Why".

Alberta Department of Public Health Work Safety Poster

An agency of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA has the primary responsibility for administering and enforcing the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act, with covers a majority of employers and workers; the primary exceptions are (many) public sector employees and the self-employed. Youth worker safety and health is addressed in the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). However, all OSHA rules also apply to young workers.

The OSH Act establishes an employer’s responsibility to provide a safe workplace. In brief, the act requires employers to “provide a workplace free from serious recognized hazards and comply with standards, rules and regulations issued under the OSH Act.”[1] On it’s website, OSHA highlights the following supporting actions:

  • Examine workplace conditions to make sure they conform to applicable OSHA standards.
  • Make sure employees have and use safe tools and equipment and properly maintain this equipment.
  • Use color codes, posters, labels or signs to warn employees of potential hazards.
  • Establish or update operating procedures and communicate them so that employees follow safety and health requirements.
  • Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.
  • If hazardous chemicals are present, develop and implement a written hazard communication program and train employees on the hazards they are exposed to and proper precautions. A copy of safety data sheets must be readily available.
  • Provide medical examinations and training when required by OSHA standards.
  • Post the OSHA poster or the state-plan equivalent in a prominent location in the workplace.
    • OSHA regulations do not require employers to display the poster in a foreign language. However, However, OSHA encourages employers with Spanish-speaking workers to also display the Spanish version of the poster.
  • Report all significant work-related injuries, including those requiring hospitalization, amputation, loss of an eye or death.
  • Maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses and provide access as appropriate.
  • Provide to the OSHA compliance officer the names of authorized employee representatives who may be asked to accompany the compliance officer during an inspection.
  • Do not discriminate or retaliate against employees who exercise their rights under the Act.
  • Post OSHA citations at or near the work area involved. Each citation must remain posted until the violation has been corrected, or for three working days, whichever is longer. Post abatement verification documents or tags.
  • Correct cited violations by the deadline set in the OSHA citation and submit required abatement verification documentation.

PRactice Question

  1. "OSHA Worker Rights and Protections: Employer Responsibilities." Occupational Safety and Health Administration, United States Department of Labor. Accessed August 20, 2019.