OSHA, which stands for The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, was founded in 1971. Its purpose is to protect and defend the safety and health of employees in the workplace. So essentially, OSHA is a promoter and defender of employees. It’s critical to stay up-to-date on what OSHA requires for the workplace so that you are informed and prepared with the proper equipment to keep your employees safe! Before we get into the specific OSHA requirements for Covid-19 (stay tuned for that blog post 😊 ) let’s review OSHA and their general standards for PPE.
Under the OSHA Act, it provides coverage for most private-sector employees and employers, as well as some public sector employers. There are two specific clauses that employers and employees must comply with, according to the OSHA act passed in 1970. The first clause addresses employers. It states that they must provide their employees with "a workplace free of recognized hazards, likely to cause death or serious physical harm to their employees." The second clause relates to the employees and requires them to comply with general standards for health and occupational safety (relevant to their conduct and responsibilities) set by this act.
The use of PPE to help protect against Covid-19 is new, but the routine practice of PPE in the workplace is not. Personal Protective Equipment (often referred to as PPE) refers to any equipment that is worn to mitigate the risk of exposures found in the workplace that often cause illnesses and injuries. Typical PPE items include hard hats, respirators, coveralls, vests, full-body suits, gloves, safety glasses, and shoes (to name a few). These PPE items protect employees from potential risks from mechanical, electrical, chemical, radiological, physical, and many other forms of hazards on the job.
There are many other methods employers should incorporate to keep their employees safe. Training, procedures, and supervision are fundamental tools that should be part of every workplace. Even when these tools are utilized to their fullest extent, risks and hazards sometimes still exist. The next safety measure is PPE. We’re going to dive into the OSHA standards and protocols for PPE in the next blog post, so make sure to check back with us! 😊