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Frequently Asked Questions

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After a work-related needlestick or other exposure incident, the employer must make available a post-exposure evaluation and follow-up at no cost to the worker. This includes documenting the route(s) of exposure and the circumstances under which the exposure occurred; identifying and testing the source individual, if known, unless the employer can establish that identification is not feasible or is prohibited by state or local law. The source individual's blood must be tested as soon as feasible, after consent is obtained, in order to determine HIV and HBV infectivity. The information on the source individual's HIV and HBV testing must be provided to the evaluating healthcare professional and to the exposed employee. Other frequently asked questions concerning the OSHA Bloodborne Pathogens Standard have been prepared by OSHA and are available on OSHA's webpage.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on bloodborne pathogens and needlestick prevention at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/bloodbornepathogens/index.html.

The standard requires that PPE be "appropriate." PPE will be considered "appropriate" only if it does not permit blood or other potentially infectious materials (OPIM) to pass through to, or reach, employees' skin, underlying garments, eyes, mouth, or other mucous membranes under normal conditions of use and for the duration of time that the PPE will be used. This allows the employer to select PPE based on the type of exposure and the quantity of blood or OPIM which can be reasonably anticipated to be encountered during performance of a task or procedure.

Gloves must be worn by employees whenever any vascular access procedure is performed, including phlebotomy. Phlebotomy in volunteer blood donation centers is the only instance where some flexibility is permitted and even then certain requirements must be fulfilled. If an employer in a volunteer blood donation center judges that routine gloving for all phlebotomies is not necessary then the employer must (1) periodically reevaluate this policy; (2) make gloves available to all employees who wish to use them for phlebotomy; (3) not discourage the use of gloves for phlebotomy; and (4) require that gloves be used for phlebotomy when the employee has cuts, scratches, or other breaks in the skin; when the employee judges that hand contamination with blood may occur (e.g., performing phlebotomy on an uncooperative source individual); or when the employee is receiving training in phlebotomy.

Thank Regulated waste shall be placed in containers which are:

  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed before removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.

If outside contamination of the regulated waste container occurs, it shall be placed in a second container. The second container shall be:

  • Closable;
  • Constructed to contain all contents and prevent leakage of fluids during handling, storage, transport, or shipping;
  • Labeled or color-coded in accordance with paragraph (g)(1)(i) of the standard; and
  • Closed before removal to prevent spillage or protrusion of contents during handling, storage, transport, or shipping.

Disposal of all regulated waste shall be in accordance with applicable regulations of the United States, states and territories, and political subdivisions of states and territories.

The hepatitis B vaccination series must be made available to all employees who have occupational exposure, except as provided. The employer does not have to make the hepatitis B vaccination available to employees who have previously received the vaccination series, who are already immune as their antibody tests reveal, or for whom receiving the vaccine is contraindicated for medical reasons.

The hepatitis B vaccination must be made available within 10 working days of initial assignment, after appropriate training has been completed. Thus, arranging for the administration of the first dose of the series must be done at a time which will enable this schedule to be met. In addition, see Question 6 for vaccination of employees designated to render first aid.

The employer cannot require an employee to take a pre-screening or post-vaccination serological test. An employer may, however, decide to make pre-screening available at no cost to the employee.

All medical evaluations and procedures, including the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination series, are to be provided according to the current recommendations of the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS). According to the current guidelines, employees who have ongoing contact with patients or blood and are at ongoing risk for percutaneous injuries should be tested for anti-HBs one to two months after the completion of the three-dose vaccination series. Non-responders must receive a second three-dose series and be retested after the second series. Non-responders must be medically evaluated (see www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/rr5011a1.htm).

If an employee declines the hepatitis B vaccination, the employer must ensure that the employee signs a hepatitis B vaccine declination. The declination's wording is found in Appendix A of the standard. A photocopy of the Appendix may be used as a declination form, or the words can be typed or written onto a separate document. An employer may use different words if they convey the same information. However, any additions to that language should be made for the sole purpose of improving employee comprehension. Forms must not add language that would discourage employee acceptance of the vaccine, add liability concerns or require the employee to provide confidential medical information.

Employees have the right to refuse the hepatitis B vaccine and/or any post-exposure evaluation and follow-up. Note, however, that the employee needs to be properly informed of the benefits of the vaccination and post-exposure evaluation through training. The employee also has the right to decide to take the vaccination at a later date if he or she so chooses. The employer must make the vaccination available at that time.

OSHA does not have jurisdiction over this issue.

The U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) does not recommend routine booster doses of hepatitis B vaccine, so they are not required at this time. However, if a routine booster dose of hepatitis B vaccine is recommended by the USPHS at a future date, such booster doses must be made available at no cost to those eligible employees with occupational exposure.

The responsibility lies with the employer to make the hepatitis B vaccine and vaccination, including post-exposure evaluation and follow-up, available at no cost to the employees.

Prolonged exposure to freezing or cold temperatures may cause serious health problems such as trench foot, frostbite and hypothermia. In extreme cases, including cold water immersion, exposure can lead to death.

Although there is not a particular standard for cold stress, the following links provide information for protecting workers in cold environments:

Emergency Preparedness Guide on Cold Stress: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html

Tips to protect workers in cold environments: http://www.osha.gov/as/opa/cold_weather_prep.html

Emergency preparedness guide on winter storms: http://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/hazards_precautions.html

As a general rule, office temperature and humidity are matters of human comfort. OSHA has no regulations specifically addressing temperature and humidity in an office setting. However, Section III, Chapter 2, Subsection V of the OSHA Technical Manual, "Recommendations for the Employer," provides engineering and administrative guidance to prevent or alleviate indoor air quality problems. Air treatment is defined under the engineering recommendations as, "the removal of air contaminants and/or the control of room temperature and humidity." OSHA recommends temperature control in the range of 68-76° F and humidity control in the range of 20%-60%. Please see the following: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602

You may also wish to view some other resources related to cold stress: Safety and Health Guide for Cold Stress: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/emergencypreparedness/guides/cold.html

For additional information on Indoor Air Quality, refer to OSHA's Safety and Health Topics' Indoor Air Quality pages at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html

Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings Guidance at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf and from the OSHA Technical Manual - http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5

A variety of inspections are required to ensure that equipment is in safe operating condition. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Shift inspections for all equipment;
  • Monthly inspections for all equipment;
  • Annual inspections for all equipment;
  • Shift, monthly, and annual inspections for all Wire rope;
  • Post-assembly inspections upon completion of assembly;
  • Pre-erection inspections of tower cranes;
  • Inspections of modified or repaired/adjusted equipment;
  • Four-year inspections of the internal vessel/flotation device for floating cranes/derricks.

No. Crane inspectors are not required to be certified. They must, however, possess a level of expertise that is based on the complexity and type of inspections they perform (competent). For more complex inspections (such as an annual inspection or an inspection after the completion of a modification or repair), the inspector must be qualified through possession of a recognized degree, certificate, or professional standing; or by extensive knowledge, training, and experience, and be able to successfully demonstrate the ability to solve/resolve problems related to the inspection of cranes and related activities (qualified).

Employers may wish to contact the Department of Health and Human Service's Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Division of Workplace Programs at workplace.samhsa.gov for more information on setting up a substance abuse program

OSHA information on ergonomics or musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) can be found on OSHA's Ergonomics web page.

OSHA created a suite of resources to help hospitals assess workplace safety needs, implement safety and health management systems, and enhance their safe patient handling programs. Preventing worker injuries not only helps workers—it also helps patients and will save resources for hospitals. See http://www.osha.gov/dsg/hospitals/index.html

OSHA requires employers to ensure the safety of all employees in the work environment. Eye and face protection must be provided whenever necessary to protect against chemical, environmental and radiological hazards or mechanical irritants.

The OSHA requirements for emergency eyewashes and showers, found at 29 CFR 1910.151(c), specify that "where the eyes or body of any person may be exposed to injurious corrosive materials, suitable facilities for quick drenching or flushing of the eyes and body shall be provided within the work area for immediate emergency use." As the standard states, an eyewash and/or safety shower would be required where an employee's eyes or body could be exposed to injurious corrosive materials. If none of the materials used in this work area is an injurious corrosive (as indicated by the Safety Data Sheet (SDS) for each product), then an emergency eyewash or shower would not be required pursuant to 1910.151(c).

The following OSHA standards provide mandatory requirements and compliance assistance for employers when selecting proper eye and face protection:

The employer shall ensure that each affected employee uses appropriate eye or face protection when exposed to eye or face hazards from flying particles, molten metal, liquid chemicals, acids or caustic liquids, chemical gases or vapors, or potentially injurious light radiation. To select PPE for the workplace, see the Hazard Assessment module.

For more information, see OSHA's Eye and Face Protection e-Tool at www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/eyeandface/employer/requirements.html.

OSHA requires employers to protect workers from falls. Falls can cause death and very serious injuries -and can be prevented. OSHA's fall protection requirements are as follows: for general industry, fall protection must be used while working at heights of four or more feet (see www.osha.gov/SLTC/fallprotection/index.html). In maritime, specifically ship repair, fall protection is required at five feet or greater on vessels, and longshoring operations generally require fall protection at eight feet or greater (see www.osha.gov/dts/maritime/compliance.html). Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, personal fall arrest systems, or similar systems.

For construction operations, fall protection generally must be used at heights of six feet or greater. Falls are the leading cause of death in the construction industry. Fall protection can be accomplished through the use of guardrail systems, safety net systems, or personal fall arrest systems. Certain worksite activities and/or locations may allow other methods (including, but not limited to positioning device systems, warning line systems, and controlled access zones) to be used. For further information on OSHA's requirements for protecting workers from falls, please see OSHA's Fall Prevention Web page.

The following OSHA standards contain construction fall protection requirements:

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's Fall Prevention Web page and Fall Protection in Residential Construction Web page.

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. Employers MUST provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs. Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to eliminate or reduce risks.

For more information, see the Employer Responsibilities page.

Host employers need to treat temporary employees as they treat existing employees. Employers must assure that all workers—whether temporary or existing—are provided with a safe workplace and all required training and protections. Temporary staffing agencies and host employers share control over the employee, and are therefore jointly responsible for temp employee's safety and health. For more information on responsibilities to protect temporary employees, see OSHA's Temporary Workers Page at www.osha.gov/temp_workers. For more information on recordkeeping requirements of temporary workers, see www.osha.gov/temp_workers/OSHA_TWI_Bulletin.pdf.

Employers are required to display the OSHA poster prepared by the Department of Labor (or a similar state plan OSH poster, if in a state plan state`) that informs employees of protections afforded under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. The OSHA poster must be displayed in a conspicuous place where employees can view it. Private employers may use the poster available from OSHA's website, or a suitable reproduction or facsimile.

OSHA's publications and posters are available free to anyone by visiting the publications page on the agency's website at www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html. The publications, posters, fact sheets, etc., can be ordered through the publications office or, in most cases, downloaded directly from the website. The OSHA poster (OSHA 3165) is available for free from the OSHA Office of Publications. To download or order the free poster, visit OSHA's Publications page at www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html. Clicking "order now" will place the item in a virtual cart on the right hand side of the screen. Or you can call OSHA at 1-800 321 -OSHA (6742) and order a poster. The poster is available in many languages.

It's important that employers do not become victims of misleading solicitation practices or incur unnecessary costs where these resources are concerned. We continue to learn of complaints from employers who have received "official looking" announcements and -- in some cases -- threatening notices, messages, or telephone calls from various companies requiring that employers purchase OSHA documents from them in order to remain in compliance with OSHA rules and regulations. The most popular document being offered for sale is the OSHA Workplace Poster (also available in Spanish). We have also learned of a few cases in which individuals, falsely identifying themselves as Department of Labor or OSHA employees, contact employers threatening fines if they do not purchase specific materials. As stated above, all OSHA’s posters and other publications  are available free from OSHA.

To report a government imposter scam or misleading solicitation, see the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) page on government imposter scams at http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0048-government-imposter-scams. If you receive a call from a government imposter, the FTC recommends that you file a complaint at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1.

To get more information on specific workplace safety and health requirements, please visit our website at www.osha.gov or contact your local OSHA area office. See www.osha.gov/html/RAmap.html for those addresses and phone numbers or call 1-800-321-6742.

OSHA has compliance assistance specialists throughout the nation located in most OSHA offices. Compliance assistance specialists can provide information to employers and workers about OSHA standards, short educational programs on specific hazards or OSHA rights and responsibilities, and information on additional compliance assistance resources. For more details, visit OSHA's Compliance Assistance page or call 1-800-321-OSHA [6742] to contact your local OSHA office.

OSHA's On-site Consultation Program offers free and confidential advice to small and medium-sized businesses in all states across the country, with priority given to high-hazard worksites. Each year, responding to requests from small employers looking to create or improve their safety and health management programs, OSHA's On-site Consultation Program conducts over 29,000 visits to small business worksites covering over 1.5 million workers across the nation.

On-site consultation services are separate from enforcement and do not result in penalties or citations. Consultants from state agencies or universities work with employers to identify workplace hazards, provide advice on compliance with OSHA standards, and assist in establishing safety and health management programs. For more information, to find the local On-site Consultation office in your state, or to request a brochure on Consultation Services, visit OSHA's On-Site Consultation page, or call 1-800-321-OSHA [6742].

The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) provides that any person has the right to request access to federal agency records or information. A FOIA request is a written request for records held or believed to be held by a federal agency. The public may submit a FOIA request for OSHA-related records to the OSHA Requester Service Center, or for more information, view OSHA's Freedom of Information Act Page at www.osha.gov/as/opa/foia/howto-foia.html.

According to federal law, positions for federal agencies must be announced on www.usajobs.gov and filled from those who apply through that system. If you check any of OSHA's openings, you will see how to apply and the education, experience, and other hiring requirements.

If you need more specific information, please contact 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) with additional questions.

No. OSHA is not responsible for monitoring unofficial occupational safety and health postings to social media or other media or Internet-based sites. If you have a question about occupational safety and health, please contact us by email, by calling toll free at 1-800-321-OSHA (6742), press option 4, or find contact information for your local OSHA area office.

OSHA does not approve or endorse products. Compliance with OSHA's standards is not determined based on the equipment or devices alone. Such a determination must also take into account all factors pertaining to device use at a particular worksite with respect to employee safety and health. This must include an evaluation, through direct observation, of employee work practices and all conditions of use in the workplace. If you wish to research OSHA standards which may be applicable to your product while employees are using it, you may wish to consult OSHA's regulations at https://www.osha.gov/law-regs.html.

Most products do not require specific testing, certification or approval to be used in the workplace, however, there are a number of testing organizations that can test your product. Several independent accreditation bodies, not affiliated with OSHA, maintain a list of test laboratories that can assist you in testing your product, such as:

While OSHA does not approve or endorse products, there are a small number of products, which if used in a workplace, do require approval before being acceptable to OSHA. Products which use electric energy, liquid petroleum gas, and fire suppression equipment, to name a few must be "acceptable" to OSHA. This generally means that the product must be tested and certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). A complete list of products requiring NRTL approval can be found at: (https://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/prodcatg.html). Products that require testing and certification by an NRTL can be submitted directly to the NRTL for testing. A list of NRTLs recognized by OSHA is available at: https://www.osha.gov/dts/otpca/nrtl/

Funds collected by OSHA for employer fines are deposited with the U.S. Treasury. OSHA does not have authority to keep the funds to use for agency operations.

The Globally Harmonized System (GHS) is an international approach to hazard communication, providing agreed criteria for classification of chemical hazards, and a standardized approach to label elements and safety data sheets. The GHS was negotiated in a multi-year process by hazard communication experts from many different countries, international organizations, and stakeholder groups. It is based on major existing systems around the world, including OSHA's Hazard Communication Standard and the chemical classification and labeling systems of other U.S. agencies.

The result of this negotiation process is the United Nations' document entitled "Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals," commonly referred to as The Purple Book. This document provides harmonized classification criteria for health, physical and environmental hazards of chemicals. It also includes standardized label elements that are assigned to these hazard classes and categories and provide the appropriate signal words, pictograms, and hazard and precautionary statements to convey the hazards to users. A standardized order of information for safety data sheets is also provided. These recommendations can be used by regulatory authorities such as OSHA to establish mandatory requirements for hazard communication, but do not constitute a model regulation.

Since it was first promulgated in 1983, the HCS has provided employers and employees extensive information about the chemicals in their workplaces. The original standard is performance-oriented, allowing chemical manufacturers and importers to convey information on labels and material safety data sheets in whatever format they choose. While the available information has been helpful in improving employee safety and health, a more standardized approach to classifying the hazards and conveying the information will be more effective and provide further improvements in American workplaces. The GHS provides such a standardized approach, including detailed criteria for determining what hazardous effects a chemical poses, as well as standardized label elements assigned by hazard class and category. This will enhance both employer and worker comprehension of the hazards, which will help to ensure appropriate handling and safe use of workplace chemicals. In addition, the safety data sheet requirements establish an order of information that is standardized. The harmonized format of the safety data sheets will enable employers, workers, health professionals and emergency responders to access the information more efficiently and effectively, thus increasing their utility.

Adoption of the GHS in the United States and around the world will also help to improve information received from other countries—since the United States is both a major importer and exporter of chemicals, American workers often see labels and safety data sheets from other countries. The diverse and sometimes conflicting national and international requirements can create confusion among those who seek to use hazard information effectively. For example, labels and safety data sheets may include symbols and hazard statements that are unfamiliar to readers or not well understood. Containers may be labeled with such a large volume of information that important statements are not easily recognized. Given the differences in hazard classification criteria, labels may also be incorrect when used in other countries. If countries around the world adopt the GHS, these problems will be minimized, and chemicals crossing borders will have consistent information, thus improving communication globally.

The three major areas of change are in hazard classification, labels and safety data sheets.

  • Hazard classification: The definitions of hazard have been changed to provide specific criteria for classification of health and physical hazards, as well as classification of mixtures. These specific criteria will help to ensure that evaluations of hazardous effects are consistent across manufacturers and that labels and safety data sheets are more accurate as a result.
  • Labels: Chemical manufacturers and importers will be required to provide a label that includes a harmonized signal word, pictogram and hazard statement for each hazard class and category. Precautionary statements must also be provided.
  • Safety Data Sheets: Will now have a specified 16-section format.

The GHS does not include harmonized training provisions, but recognizes that training is essential to an effective hazard communication approach. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that workers be re-trained within two years of the publication of the final rule to facilitate recognition and understanding of the new labels and safety data sheets.

For a side-by-side comparison of the current HCS and the final revised HCS please see OSHA's hazard communication safety and health topics Web page at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/index.html.

The table below summarizes the phase-in dates required under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS):

Effective Completion Date Requirement(s) Who
December 1, 2013 Train employees on the new label elements and safety data sheet (SDS) format. Employers
June 1, 2015 Compliance with all modified provisions of this final rule, except: Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers
December 1, 2015 The Distributor shall not ship containers labeled by the chemical manufacturer or importer unless it is a GHS label Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors and employers
June 1, 2016 Update alternative workplace labeling and hazard communication program as necessary, and provide additional employee training for newly identified physical or health hazards. Employers
Transition Period to the effective completion dates noted above May comply with either 29 CFR 1910.1200 (the final standard), or the current standard, or both Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, and employers

This date coincides with the EU implementation date for classification of mixtures

During the phase-in period, employers would be required to be in compliance with either the existing HCS or the revised HCS, or both. OSHA recognizes that hazard communication programs will go through a period of time where labels and SDSs under both standards will be present in the workplace. This will be considered acceptable, and employers are not required to maintain two sets of labels and SDSs for compliance purposes.

The information required on the safety data sheet (SDS) remains essentially the same as that in the current standard (HazCom 1994). HazCom 1994 indicates what information has to be included on an SDS, but does not specify a format for presentation or order of information. The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom 2012) requires that the information on the SDS be presented using specific headings in a specified sequence.

Paragraph (g) of the final rule provides the headings of information to be included on the SDS and the order in which they are to be provided. In addition, Appendix D provides the information to be included under each heading. The SDS format is the same as the ANSI standard format which is widely used in the U.S. and is already familiar to many employees.

The format of the 16-section SDS should include the following sections:

  • Section 1. Identification
  • Section 2. Hazard(s) identification
  • Section 3. Composition/information on ingredients
  • Section 4. First-Aid measures
  • Section 5. Fire-fighting measures
  • Section 6. Accidental release measures
  • Section 7. Handling and storage
  • Section 8. Exposure controls/personal protection
  • Section 9. Physical and chemical properties
  • Section 10. Stability and reactivity
  • Section 11. Toxicological information
  • Section 12. Ecological information
  • Section 13. Disposal considerations
  • Section 14. Transport information
  • Section 15. Regulatory information
  • Section 16. Other information, including date of preparation or last revision

The SDS must also contain Sections 12-15, to be consistent with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS). Although the headings for Sections 12-15 are mandatory, OSHA will not enforce the content of these four sections because these sections are within other agencies' jurisdictions.

There are nine pictograms under the Globally Harmonized System (GHS) to convey the health, physical and environmental hazards. The final Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires eight of these pictograms, the exception being the environmental pictogram, as environmental hazards are not within OSHA's jurisdiction. The hazard pictograms and their corresponding hazards are shown at www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html#7.

Under the current Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), the label preparer must provide the identity of the chemical and the appropriate hazard warnings. This may be done in a variety of ways, and the method to convey the information is left to the preparer. Under the revised HCS, once the hazard classification is completed, the standard specifies what information is to be provided for each hazard class and category. Labels will require the following elements:

  • Pictogram: a symbol plus other graphic elements, such as a border, background pattern, or color that is intended to convey specific information about the hazards of a chemical. Each pictogram consists of a different symbol on a white background within a red square frame set on a point (i.e. a red diamond). There are nine pictograms under the GHS. However, only eight pictograms are required under the HCS.
  • Signal words: a single word used to indicate the relative level of severity of hazard and alert the reader to a potential hazard on the label. The signal words used are "danger" and "warning." "Danger" is used for the more severe hazards, while "warning" is used for less severe hazards.
  • Hazard Statement: a statement assigned to a hazard class and category that describes the nature of the hazard(s) of a chemical, including, where appropriate, the degree of hazard.
  • Precautionary Statement: a phrase that describes recommended measures to be taken to minimize or prevent adverse effects resulting from exposure to a hazardous chemical, or improper storage or handling of a hazardous chemical.

No, OSHA does not have a limit on the number of precautionary statements that appear on the label. OSHA requires all of the appropriate precautionary statements to appear on the label to warn users of the hazards of the chemical in question. However, OSHA does allow for some flexibility when identifying the appropriate precautionary statement(s) for labels, as explained below:

  1. OSHA allows precautionary statements to be combined or consolidated to save label space. See Appendix C.2.4.6. An example provided in Appendix C.2.4.6 states: "Keep away from heat, sparks and open flame," "Store in a well-ventilated place" and "Keep cool" can be combined to read "Keep away from heat, sparks and open flame and store in a cool, well-ventilated place."
  2. In addition, where a chemical is classified for a number of hazards, and the precautionary statements are similar, the most stringent must be included on the label (we expect this to apply mostly to preventive measures) and the less stringent may be omitted.
  3. The chemical manufacturer, importer or responsible party may identify an order of precedence for displaying precautionary statements on the label in situations where phrases relate to a required response action. This may occur in cases where rapid action may be crucial. For example, if a chemical is carcinogenic and acutely toxic, rapid action may be crucial; therefore, the employer may decide to display first aid measures for the acute toxicity hazards before precautionary statements about effects that occur over a longer time, such as medical attention required for delayed health effects in cases of incidental exposure.

Finally, if the chemical manufacturer, importer, or responsible party can demonstrate that a precautionary statement is inappropriate for a specific chemical, it may omit the precautionary statement from the label.

Labels may not contain blank "square-on-point" (red borders with no symbol). Blacked out pictogram borders are compliant with the requirements of HCS 2012 as they are not a "square red frame set at a point without a hazard symbol." However, if a blank red frame is not fully covered or filled in, the label would not be in compliance. Please note that downstream customers may inquire whether the blacking-out was done deliberately by the manufacturer or whether the label has been defaced.

Under the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), pictograms must have red borders. OSHA believes that the use of the red frame will increase recognition and comprehensibility. Therefore, the red frame is required regardless of whether the shipment is domestic or international.

The revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS) requires that all red borders printed on the label have a symbol printed inside it. If OSHA were to allow blank red borders, workers may be confused about what they mean and concerned that some information is missing. OSHA has determined that prohibiting the use of blank red borders on labels is necessary to provide the maximum recognition and impact of warning labels and to ensure that users do not get desensitized to the warnings placed on labels.

In the revised Hazard Communication Standard (HCS), OSHA is lifting the stay on enforcement regarding the provision to update labels when new information on hazards becomes available. Chemical manufacturers, importers, distributors, or employers who become newly aware of any significant information regarding the hazards of a chemical shall revise the labels for the chemical within six months of becoming aware of the new information, and shall ensure that labels on containers of hazardous chemicals shipped after that time contain the new information. If the chemical is not currently produced or imported, the chemical manufacturer, importer, distributor, or employer shall add the information to the label before the chemical is shipped or introduced into the workplace again.

Yes, once the hazardous chemical arrives in the U.S., the importer becomes the responsible party and cannot ship a chemical without a complete SDS that complies with HCS 2012 after the June 1, 2015 deadline. Therefore, the importer must ensure that all sections of the SDS are properly filled out, either by performing the classification themselves or by obtaining the information for the manufacturer. Note that OSHA does not require Sections 12-15 of the SDS to be completed because they concern matters handled by other agencies. OSHA also requires that the importers' name and contact information be listed on the SDS and label, even if the product's SDS arrives in the 16-section format.

OSHA's HCS 2012 aligns with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Hazardous Chemicals (GHS). Many other countries are also implementing the GHS. The United Nations website lists the countries that are implementing GHS; see http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/ghs/implementation_e.html. These countries require that chemicals be classified in accordance with the GHS and that information on the chemical be presented on the 16-section SDS.

The unknown acute toxicity statement is required on the label and Section 2 of the SDS where a chemical is classified as acutely toxic, the classification is not based on testing of the mixture as a whole, and there are any relevant ingredients of unknown acute toxicity by any relevant route of exposure. See § 1910.1200, Appendix A, A.1.3.2, A., Appendix C.3.3, Appendix D.

Classifiers can present the unknown acute toxicity information on labels and SDSs either as a single statement or as multiple statements, where routes are differentiated. If there is an unknown acute toxicity by more than one route, and the classifier chooses to provide one statement in order to save space on the label or SDS, then the route with the highest percentage unknown toxicity will be used in the statement. The single statement on the label or SDS would state that:

"x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute toxicity."

Because it is possible to have ingredients with unknown toxicity for more than one route (e.g., oral, dermal, inhalation), differentiating the unknown toxicity statement by route is recommended.1 As such, classifiers may also communicate the information as:

x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute oral toxicity,

x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute dermal toxicity,

x % of the mixture consists of ingredient(s) of unknown acute inhalation toxicity.

For further information please see our enforcement webpage for Letters of Interpretation. The letter to Ms. Yu addresses questions related to acute toxicity. When this letter has finished the clearing and vetting process it will be posted on the OSHA Publications site as well as here in FAQs.

1 Revision 4 of the GHS has clarified that the statement of unknown acute toxicity should be differentiated by route, see GHS Rev. 4 (or current version) paragraphs and, and OSHA recommends classifiers follow this guidance.

OSHA reviews labeling small packages on a case-by-case basis to determine whether a practical accommodation is warranted. The agency has issued several letters of interpretation that may assist in answering your question on small package labeling more fully. The links to the letters are provided below:

Letter #1 addresses questions and any accommodations for small bottles from 5 ml to 50 ml in size. [Dr. Robert L. Watters, Jr. letter, dated 06/04/ 2013] The letter is located at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=28805.

Letter #2 addresses questions related to standards for 2 to 5 ml vials. The letter [Bruntrager/Celestino [USP] letter, dated 09/20/2013] is located at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=29183.

The Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals (GHS) can be purchased at the United Nations website at http://www.unece.org/trans/danger/publi/dg_publications.html.

For additional frequently asked questions and answers on hazard communication, please see https://www.osha.gov/dsg/hazcom/hazcom-faq.html

The Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) applies to five distinct groups of employers and their employees. This includes any employees who are exposed or potentially exposed to hazardous substances -- including hazardous waste -- and who are engaged in one of the following operations as specified by 1910.120(a)(1)(i-v) and 1926.65(a)(1)(i-v):

  • cleanup operations -- required by a governmental body, whether federal, state, local, or other involving hazardous substances -- that are conducted at uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
  • corrective actions involving cleanup operations at sites covered by the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act of 1976 (RCRA) as amended (42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq.);
  • voluntary cleanup operations at sites recognized by federal, state, local, or other governmental body as uncontrolled hazardous waste sites;
  • operations involving hazardous wastes that are conducted at treatment, storage, and disposal facilities regulated by Title 40 Code of Federal Regulations Parts 264 and 265 pursuant to RCRA, or by agencies under agreement with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to implement RCRA regulations; and
  • emergency response operations for releases of, or substantial threats of release of, hazardous substances regardless of the location of the hazard.

For more information, see OSHA's Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the HAZWOPER standard.

Regarding temperature in the workplace, OSHA does not require employers to provide heat or air conditioning. However, OSHA does recommend temperature control in the range of 68-76°F. The qualities of good indoor air quality (IAQ) should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building. Employers are responsible for protecting workers from extreme heat. HEAT ILLNESS CAN BE DEADLY. Every year, thousands of workers become sick from exposure to heat, and some even die. Heat illnesses and deaths are preventable. For workers exposed to extreme heat, OSHA's Prevention of Heat-Related Illness and Fatality website provides information on preventing heat-related deaths and illnesses. Remember three simple words: water, rest, shade. Drinking water often, taking breaks, and limiting time in the heat. Employers should establish a complete heat illness prevention program to prevent heat illness. elements of the program include: provide workers with water, rest and shade; gradually increase workloads and allow more frequent breaks for new workers or workers who have been away for a week or more to build a tolerance for working in the heat (acclimatization); modify work schedules as necessary; plan for emergencies and train workers about the symptoms of heat-related illnesses and their prevention; and monitor workers for signs of illness. Workers new to the heat or those who have been away from work and are returning can be most vulnerable to heat stress and they must be acclimatized. For more information, including materials and training guides, on preventing work-related heat-related illnesses and death, visit OSHA's Heat Illness Prevention Web page. OSHA's policy on temperature in the workplace can be found in a letter of interpretation.

Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings.

Guidance from OSHA Technical Manual can be found at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics indoor air quality page and frequently asked questions at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.

The qualities of good IAQ should include comfortable temperature and humidity, adequate supply of fresh outdoor air, and control of pollutants from inside and outside of the building. Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on indoor air quality at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html.

OSHA does not have a specific indoor air quality (IAQ) standard for construction or general industry activities, including those general industry activities which occur during construction. However, OSHA does provide guidelines addressing the most common workplace complaints about IAQ, which are typically related to temperature, humidity, lack of outside air ventilation, or smoking. OSHA standards address potential hazardous conditions leading to serious physical harm or death. Such standards may include those for specific air contaminants, ventilation systems, or the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act).

Applicable OSHA Construction Standards are contained in Occupational Health and Environmental Controls Subpart D - www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=STANDARDS&p_toc_level=1&p_keyvalue=Construction#1926_Subpart_D .

Applicable OSHA General Industry Standards are contained in the following:

Additional guidance is provided in the OSHA publication, Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings at www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf.

Guidance from the OSHA Technical Manual is available at www.osha.gov/dts/osta/otm/otm_iii/otm_iii_2.html#5.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics indoor air quality page and frequently asked questions at www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.

OSHA does not have any specific regulation that addresses smoking in the workplace except for a limited number of specific regulations that addresses smoking, and other sources of ignition, from a fire safety perspective. For further information to offer to employers/employees as guidance, you may wish to review a document published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) about the health effects from environmental tobacco smoke, A Fact Sheet: Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking. Additional information on indoor air quality in general can be found in OSHA's publication "Indoor Air Quality in Commercial and Institutional Buildings" at http://www.osha.gov/Publications/3430indoor-air-quality-sm.pdf; OSHA's web page on Indoor Air Quality: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/index.html and on the Indoor Air Quality Technical Links page on the OSHA website. Here also is the web-link for the Letter of Interpretation on OSHA's enforcement policy: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24602 .

For additional frequently asked questions and answers on indoor air quality, please see http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/indoorairquality/faqs.html.

Federal OSHA is a small agency; with our state partners we have approximately 2,200 inspectors responsible for the health and safety of 130 million workers, employed at more than 8 million worksites around the nation - which translates to about one compliance officer for every 59,000 workers.

You can research your employer's inspection history through OSHA's Establishment Search. Type in the name of your company and choose the dates you want to cover.

Effective August 2, 2016, OSHA penalty amounts were increased for the first time since 1990. Going forward, they will be adjusted each year for inflation based on the Consumer Price Index. For current penalty amounts, see https://www.osha.gov/penalties/. OSHA's penalty policy, including minimums, maximums and factors considered when assessing the penalty, can be found in Chapter Six of the Field Operations Manual.

OSHA covers most private sector employers and their workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in those states that have an OSHA-approved state program. To find out if you are in a state with an OSHA-approved state program visit our website at www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/index.html.

The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. OSHA covers most private sector employers and their workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in those states that have an OSHA-approved state program. Four additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA-approved plans that cover public sector workers only. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. To find the contact information for the OSHA Federal or State Program office nearest you, see the Regional and Area Offices map.

Those not covered by the OSH Act include: self-employed workers, immediate family members of farm employers, and workers whose hazards are regulated by another federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Energy, or Coast Guard).

Yes. In construction work, your employer must provide a training program for each employee using ladders and stairways, as necessary. The training program must enable each employee to recognize hazards related to ladders and stairways, and to know what procedures to follow to minimize these hazards. See Section 1926.1060(a).

Your employer must ensure that you have been trained by a competent person in the following areas, as applicable:

  • the nature of fall hazards in the work area
  • the correct procedures for erecting, maintaining, and disassembling the fall protection systems to be used
  • the proper construction, use, placement, and care in handling of all stairways and ladders
  • the maximum intended load-carrying capacities of ladders
  • the standards contained in this subpart. See Section 1926.1060(a)(1)(i) - (v).

Your employer must provide you with retraining as necessary so that you maintain the understanding and knowledge acquired through compliance with this section. See Section 1926.1060(b).

The following OSHA Ladder Fact Sheets provide additional information on the safe use of ladders: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3660.pdf, https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3661.pdf, and https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3662.pdf.

An additional OSHA publication on the safe use of ladders is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3625.pdf.

Also, the following OSHA standards apply to ladders in general industry: 1910.25 - Portable wood ladders, 1910.26 - Portable metal ladders, 1910.27 - Fixed ladders.

Ladders used in construction work must be inspected periodically by a competent person for visible defects. See Section 1926.1053(b)(15). Ladders used in construction work must also be inspected by a competent person after any occurrence that could affect the safe use of the ladder. See Section 1926.1053(b)(15). See the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10839.

Portable wood ladders used in general industry work shall be inspected frequently. See Section 1910.25(d)(1)(x). Those which have developed defects shall be removed from service for repair or destruction and must be tagged or marked as, "Dangerous, Do Not Use." See Section 1910.25(d)(1)(x).

See 1910.25 (the general industry portable wood ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9717.

Immediate inspection of a portable metal ladder used in general industry work is required if it is tipped over. See Section 1910.26(c)(2)(vi). In that case, the ladder must be inspected for side rails dents or bends, or excessively dented rungs; all rung-to-side-rail connections must be checked; hardware connections must be checked; and rivets must be checked for shear. See Section 1910.26(c)(2)(vi)(a).

See 1910.26 (the general industry portable metal ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9718.

All fixed ladders used in general industry work must be maintained in a safe condition, and inspected regularly, the frequency of inspections being determined by use and exposure.

See 1910.27 (the general industry fixed ladders standards) at the following page on OSHA's website: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9719.

No, using a ladder whose manufacturer's labels have worn off or been removed may not be a violation of an OSHA standard. However, if a ladder is used where the manufacturer's labels have either been worn off or removed, employers may have difficulty complying with OSHA's ladder standards' provisions such as weight/load limitations. The ANSI standards for ladders require labels on new ladders to inform users of the limitations and procedures for safe use. A clear label that shows the maximum intended load and use instructions makes it easier for the employer to select the appropriate ladder for the job and to ensure that all employees who use the ladder are trained on proper use and know the ladder weight/load limits.

An OSHA publication on the safe use of ladders is available at: https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3625.pdf.

For additional information on the ANSI safety requirements for ladders, please refer to ANSI A14.1-2007 (Portable Wood Ladders), ANSI A14.2-2007 (Portable Metal Ladders), and ANSI A14.5-2007 (Portable Reinforced Plastic Ladders) as referenced in OSHA's non-mandatory Appendix A to Subpart X of Part 1926 - Ladders.

Yes. For example, if weather conditions are such that you are at risk for frostbite or heatstroke on the job, your employer should have a policy in place to prevent this from occurring, e.g., proper training and routine breaks for the cold; water, rest, shade and acclimatization for heat. Your employer should also take measures to ensure your safety when weather conditions are likely to result in a loss of secure footing or handholds, due to rain or icy conditions. Ladders used in construction work must be maintained free of oil, grease, and other slipping hazards. See section 1926.1053(b)(2). The OSHA resource below ("Winter Weather - Plan. Equip. Train.") provides information regarding working in cold temperatures and preventive actions that can be taken: https://www.osha.gov/dts/weather/winter_weather/windchill.html. This OSHA publication ("Protecting Roofing Workers") has information on heat illnesses, cold stress, and other weather conditions (see pages 33-34): https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3755.pdf. More information on protecting workers from heat related illness and death can be found on OSHA's heat illness webpage: http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/heatillness/index.html. Additional OSHA publications may be reviewed on the publications page on the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.AthruZ?pType=AthruZ#R.

Type II ladders with a rating of 225 lbs. can comply with section 1926.1053 which applies to ladders including job-made ladders. Each self-supporting portable ladder must be capable of supporting, without failure, at least four times the maximum intended load, except that each extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladder shall sustain at least 3.3 times the maximum intended load. Section 1926.1053(a)(1)(i).

The ability of a ladder to sustain the loads indicated must be determined by applying or transmitting the requisite load to the ladder in a downward vertical direction. Ladders built and tested in conformance with the applicable provisions of appendix A of this subpart will be deemed to meet this requirement.

You may review appendix A at the following page on OSHA's website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10947.

In addition, the following previously issued OSHA letters of interpretation may be applicable to the question which you have asked: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24273; or https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=21163.

Also please be aware that other requirements of 1926.1053, in addition to capacity, may also be applicable. You may review 1926.1053 on the following page on the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10839.

Note that a ladder's duty rating is the maximum safe load capacity of the ladder, including a person's fully clothed weight plus the weight of any tools and materials that are carried onto the ladder. This maximum safe load capacity must not be exceeded. Also be aware that OSHA requirements are minimum requirements and many employers can and do have additional safety and health requirements beyond the OSHA standards.

Your question appears to relate to a ladder affixed to a supported scaffold being used for access under normal working conditions. Section 1926.451(e)(2)(i)-(vi) addresses portable, hook-on, and attachable fixed ladders for scaffold access under normal use. Subpart X standards for stairways and ladders, including Section 1926.1053 requirements, also apply to the construction and use of portable ladders.

The following previously issued OSHA letters of interpretation may be applicable to the question which you have asked: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=24678 https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=22743

With respect to the question of "tying off to the scaffold" during erection and dismantling of supported scaffolds, sections 1926.451(g)(1) and 1926.451(g)(2) address fall protection for scaffold erectors and dismantlers. Employers are required to provide fall protection for employees erecting or dismantling supported scaffolds where the installation and use of such protection is feasible and does not create a greater hazard, as determined by a competent person. The feasibility of providing fall protection, and the fall protection system component selection, would be evaluated by the competent person on a case by case basis.

A scaffold structural component may or may not be adequate for use as a personal fall arrest anchorage point, depending on the total circumstances. Also be aware that some scaffold manufacturers do not allow this practice.

We recommend the OSHA construction eTool for summaries of the scaffold access and fall protection requirements:



All of OSHA's eTools, including the complete construction and scaffolding eTools, can be reviewed on the eTools page on the OSHA website: http://www.osha.gov/dts/osta/oshasoft/index.html.

OSHA's standard for ladder jack scaffolds, section 1926.452(k), provides that platforms shall not exceed a height of 20 feet (6.1 m). Section 1926(k)(1). All ladders used to support ladder jack scaffolds shall meet the requirements of subpart X of this part -- Stairways and Ladders, except that job-made ladders shall not be used to support ladder jack scaffolds. Section 1926.452(k)(2). The ladder jack shall be so designed and constructed that it will bear on the side rails and ladder rungs or on the ladder rungs alone. Section 1926.452(k)(3). If bearing on rungs only, the bearing area shall include a length of at least 10 inches (25.4 cm) on each rung. Section 1926.452(k)(3). Ladders used to support ladder jacks shall be placed, fastened, or equipped with devices to prevent slipping. Section 1926.452(k)(4). Scaffold platforms shall not be bridged one to another. Section 1926.452(k)(5).

OSHA's (Non-Mandatory) Appendix A to Subpart L of Part 1926 - Scaffold Specifications - https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10917, states "(k) "Ladder jack scaffolds." Maximum intended load -- 25 lb/ft(2). However, not more than two employees shall occupy any platform at any one time. Maximum span between supports shall be 8 feet."

OSHA ladder jack scaffold E-Tool - https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/etools/scaffolding/supported/ladderjack.html.

An OSHA Fact Sheet on ladder jack scaffolds is near completion and will soon be published. Once released, it may be may be reviewed on the publications page on the OSHA website: https://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.AthruZ?pType=AthruZ#R.

OSHA does not approve products such as ladders. OSHA has standards such as Title 29 CFR Part 1926, Subpart X that contain requirements at sections 1926.1051 and 1926.1053 that ladders must meet when used for construction work. For example, subsections 1926.1053(a)(1)(i) and 1926.1053(a)(1)(ii) require that self-supporting and non-self-supporting portable extra-heavy-duty type 1A metal or plastic ladders be capable of supporting 3.3 times the maximum intended load without failure. Other subsections of 1926.1051 and .1053 apply to ladders used in construction. Also, section 1926.1060 has training requirements for employees who use ladders. All of the above requirements can be reviewed at the following pages on the OSHA web site:

1926.1051: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10837.

1926.1053: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10839.

1926.1060: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10846.

Also be aware that OSHA standards are minimum requirements and many employers can and do have additional safety and health requirements beyond the OSHA standards.

OSHA has a number of guidance documents that both employees and employers can use to assist them in hazard recognition, detection, control and clean-up of mold. In general the best way to control mold is to identify and control the source or sources of moisture. Once the source or sources of moisture are controlled the mold-bearing material can either be cleaned or removed. For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's "Molds" Safety and Health Topics page at www.osha.gov/SLTC/molds/index.html.

For OSHA documents that deal with mold hazards encountered by workers in various environments, see:

For further information on this subject, please see:

OSHA Safety Standards, which are U.S. law, contain requirements for "approval" (i.e., testing and certification) of certain products by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). These Safety Standards are found in Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations (29 CFR), and the provisions for NRTL certification are generally in Part 1910 (29 CFR Part 1910). See Specific References to OSHA Standards Requiring NRTL Approval for the provisions in Part 1910. The requirements help protect workers by ensuring products are designed for safe use in the workplace. An NRTL generally certifies products for a manufacturer.

OSHA Safety Standards contain general requirements for workplace safety. Many of these requirements pertain to equipment for which OSHA does not require an NRTL certification. The only products covered under the NRTL Program are those for which OSHA regulations require certification by an NRTL. Whether or not OSHA requires NRTL certification, an employer subject to OSHA's requirements must assure it complies with the provisions of the Safety Standards applicable to its operations.

See Type of Products Requiring NRTL Approval for a general listing of types of products that an NRTL must certify. Electric products covered in subpart S - Electrical, of 29 CFR Part 1910, are examples of equipment requiring certification for safety. The requirement for NRTL approval is just one, and not the only requirement in subpart S.

An NRTL is an organization that OSHA has "recognized" as meeting the legal requirements in 29 CFR 1910.7. In brief, these requirements are the capability, control programs, complete independence, and reporting and complaint handling procedures to test and certify specific types of products for workplace safety. This means, in part, that an organization must have the necessary capability both as a product safety testing laboratory and as a product certification body to receive OSHA recognition as an NRTL.

OSHA's recognition is not a government license or position, or a delegation or grant of government authority. Instead, the recognition is an acknowledgment that an organization has necessary qualifications to perform safety testing and certification of the specific products covered within its scope of recognition. As a result, OSHA can accept products "properly certified" by the NRTL. "Properly certified" generally means: 1) the product is labeled or marked with the registered certification mark of the NRTL, 2) the NRTL issues the certification for a product covered within the scope of a test standard for which OSHA has recognized it, and 3) the NRTL issues the certification from one of its sites (i.e., locations) that OSHA has recognized.

(Note: In terms of OSHA's usage, "NRTL" is not treated as an acronym but just as a group of initials. As such, the indefinite article "an" precedes these initials in singular usage.)

OSHA's acceptance of a product certified by an NRTL generally occurs during the workplace inspections performed by OSHA compliance officers. However, this acceptance does not mean the product is "OSHA-approved." It means the NRTL has tested and certified the product to designate conformance to a specific product safety test standard(s). It also means the employer has complied with one requirement in OSHA Safety Standards.

Each NRTL uses its own unique, registered certification mark(s) to designate product conformance to the required product safety test standards. Each NRTL must register its certification mark(s). In the United States, this is done with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. See sample of the certification mark(s) used by each NRTL. The manufacturer physically places these marks on those products that the NRTL has certified as meeting the requirements of the test standard. In accordance with OSHA policy, an NRTL must ensure that its registered certification mark is applied to each unit, or if not feasible, to the smallest package of the product the NRTL certifies. For purpose of meeting this policy, an NRTL's generic listing of a product does not signify that the NRTL has certified a unit of that product.

Currently, OSHA does not have, and does not mandate the use of, an "NRTL" mark. Some NRTLs have voluntarily included the acronym "NRTL" with their regular certification marks, a practice that OSHA does not currently require. However, with or without the use of "NRTL," the product marking of NRTLs recognized for the same product safety standard is equivalent in designating product conformance to that standard.

The CE mark is unrelated to the requirements for product safety in the United States. It is a generic mark used in the European Union (EU) to indicate that a manufacturer has declared that the product meets requirements in the EU for product safety. In the United States, under OSHA's NRTL requirements, the product must have the specific mark of one of the NRTLs recognized to test and certify these types of products.

Exposure to high levels of noise can cause permanent hearing loss. Noise levels and worker exposures vary depending on the work environment and duration of operation. Generally, if you cannot conduct a normal conversation two to three feet away—if you have to shout to be heard from another person—then the noise levels may be greater than OSHA's action level standard of 85 decibels (dBA), and hearing protection is required. If information indicates that noise levels may be above OSHA's standards, employers are required to evaluate their workplace using instruments specifically designed to measure noise levels and noise exposures. Employers must provide workers exposed to excessive noise appropriate hearing protection (such as ear plugs, muffs, or both), and provide them a choice of suitable hearing protection when engineering or administrative controls are not feasible to reduce exposure. Small employers can contact OSHA's free consultation program for assistance on measuring noise levels and implementing controls. In addition, if levels are above OSHA requirements, the employer must provide hearing exams.

You can find more information on noise and how to control workplace noise on OSHA's Occupational Noise Exposure page or see OSHA's regulations on noise.

Many OSHA standards require employers to provide personal protective equipment, when it is necessary to protect employees from job-related injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. With few exceptions, OSHA requires employers to pay for personal protective equipment when it is used to comply with OSHA standards. These typically include: hard hats, gloves, goggles, safety shoes, safety glasses, welding helmets and goggles, face shields, chemical protective equipment and fall protection equipment.

For additional information on PPE, refer to OSHA's Personal Protective Equipment Web page.

A fit test is a method used to select the right size respirator for the user. Fit testing of all negative or positive pressure tight-fitting facepiece respirators is required prior to initial use, whenever a different respirator facepiece is used, and at least annually thereafter. An additional fit test is required whenever there are changes in the user's physical condition that could affect respirator fit (e.g., facial scarring, dental changes, cosmetic surgery, or an obvious change in body weight). The employee must be fit tested with the same make, model, style, and size of respirator that will be used. Other frequently asked questions concerning respiratory protection have been prepared by OSHA and are available on OSHA's webpage.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's safety and health topics page on respiratory protection at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/respiratoryprotection/index.html.

For frequently asked questions and answers on powered industrial trucks such as forklifts, please see https://www.osha.gov/dte/library/pit/pit_q-a.html and https://www.osha.gov/html/faq-pit.html.

OSHA provides a variety of educational materials and resources, including publications on workers' rights, employer responsibilities, job hazards, as well as the "Job Safety and Health - It's the Law" poster. See OSHA's Publications page at http://www.osha.gov/pls/publications/publication.html for a complete listing of available materials and to order free publications online.

OSHA also maintains a Safety and Health Topics pages at https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/index.html about specific workplace hazards as well as individual industries.

Also available are videos found at https://www.osha.gov/video/index.html, and training materials produced by grantees of a Susan Harwood Training Grant, found at https://www.osha.gov/dte/grant_materials/index.html.

You can find OSHA's Injury and Illness Recordkeeping forms 300, 300A and 301 at http://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/RKforms.html.

  • For answers to these and other recordkeeping questions, go to www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/faq_search/index.html
  • Covered employers must record all work-related fatalities.
  • Covered employers must record all work-related injuries and illnesses that result in days away from work, restricted work or transfer to another job, loss of consciousness or medical treatment beyond first aid (see OSHA's definition of first aid).
  • In addition, employers must record significant work-related injuries or illnesses diagnoses by a physician or other licensed health care professional, even if it does not result in death, days away from work, restricted work or job transfer, medical treatment beyond first aid, or loss of consciousness.
  • Injuries include cases such as, but not limited to, a cut, fracture, sprain, or amputation.
  • Illnesses include both acute and chronic illnesses, such as, but not limited to, a skin disease (i.e. contact dermatitis), respiratory disorder (i.e. occupational asthma, pneumoconiosis), or poisoning (i.e. lead poisoning, solvent intoxication).
  • OSHA's definition of work-related injuries, illnesses and fatalities are those in which an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition. In addition, if an event or exposure in the work environment significantly aggravated a pre-existing injury or illness, this is also considered work-related.
  • For further questions or clarifications, see www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/faq_search/index.html or www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/index.html.

Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are not classified as a partially exempt industry must record work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and 301, available here. Partially exempt industries include establishments in specific low hazard retail, service, finance, insurance or real estate industries and are listed in Appendix A to Subpart B and here.

Employers who are required to keep Form 300, the Injury and Illness log, must post Form 300A, the Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses, in their workplace every year from February 1 to April 30. Current and former employees, or their representatives, have the right to access injury and illness records. Employers must give the requester a copy of the relevant record(s) by the end of the next business day.

Information on OSHA's recordkeeping requirements can be found on OSHA's Recordkeeping page.

Recordkeeping forms are also available.

On January 1, 2003, OSHA began using the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) for industry identification in its various data sets. The NAICS is the standard used by federal statistical agencies in classifying business establishments for the purpose of collecting, analyzing, and publishing statistical data related to the U.S. business economy.

NAICS uses a six-digit hierarchical coding system to classify all economic activity into twenty industry sectors. This six digit hierarchical structure allows greater coding flexibility than the four digit structure of the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) system. NAICS allows for the identification of 1,170 industries compared to the 1,004 found in the SIC. For detailed information on the NAICS coding structure please visit the U.S. Census Bureau or search the NAICS by keyword. The U.S. Census Bureau website is the official U.S. government website to provide the latest information on plans for NAICS revisions, as well as access to various NAICS reference files and tools.

To determine the correct NAICS code for your establishment, you can use the search feature at www.census.gov/naics. There is no central government agency with the role of assigning, monitoring, or approving NAICS codes for establishments. Individual establishments are assigned NAICS codes by various agencies, based on the establishment's primary revenue-generating activity.

NAICS replaced the SIC in 1997. Now federal statistical agencies use NAICS for the collection, tabulation, presentation and analysis of economic statistics. There will be no further revisions of the SIC, which was last updated in 1987. It is possible that other organizations and state and local agencies are continuing to use the SIC for their own purposes, but these non-statistical uses are outside the scope of the federal economic statistical programs. Several OSHA data sets are still available with SIC-based data. For information on the Standard Industrial Classification system, please visit OSHA's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) System Search.

When an injury or illness involves one or more days away from work, you must record the injury or illness on the OSHA 300 Log with a check mark in the space for cases involving days away and an entry of the number of calendar days away from work in the number of days column. If the employee is out for an extended period of time, you must enter an estimate of the days that the employee will be away, and update the day count when the actual number of days is known. 1904.7(b)(3)(ix)

No, you only record the injury or illness once, and on the OSHA 300 Log the days away are counted toward the calendar year in which the incident occurred. If the employee is still away from work because of the injury or illness when you prepare the annual summary, estimate the total number of calendar days you expect the employee to be away from work, use this number to calculate the total for the annual summary, and then update the initial log entry later when the day count is known or reaches the 180-day cap. For additional questions, see OSHA's Recordkeeping page.

You are not required to send your completed forms to OSHA. You must retain the forms at your establishment for five years after the reference year of the records.

Workers' Compensation determinations do not impact OSHA recordability. The employer must evaluate the employee's work duties and the work environment to decide whether an event or exposure in the work environment either caused or contributed to the condition or significantly aggravated a pre-existing condition. If so, the case is work-related.

If the contractor's employee is under the day-to-day supervision of the contractor, the contractor is responsible for recording the injury or illness. If you supervise the contractor employee's work on a day-to-day basis, you must record the injury or illness.

For frequently asked questions and answers on the Final Rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, please see https://www.osha.gov/recordkeeping/finalrule/finalrule_faq.html.
Questions about injury and illness recordkeeping? Visit the Recordkeeping Q&A Search page to find questions and answers like the examples listed below.

All employers under OSHA jurisdiction must report these incidents to OSHA, even employers who are exempt from routinely keeping OSHA records due to company size or industry.

No, if the Area Office is closed, you must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using the 800 number (1-800-321-6742).

OSHA defines in-patient hospitalization as a formal admission to the in-patient service of a hospital or clinic for care or treatment. Treatment in an Emergency Room only is not reportable.

An amputation is the traumatic loss of all or part of a limb or other external body part. This would include fingertip amputations with or without bone loss; medical amputations resulting from irreparable damage; and amputations of body parts that have since been reattached. If and when there is a health care professional's diagnosis available, the employer should rely on that diagnosis.

Similar to the requirements in section 1904.31 for recording injuries and illnesses, the employer that provides the day-to-day supervision of the worker must report to OSHA any work-related incident resulting in a fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye.

If a fatality occurs within 30 days of the work-related incident, or if an in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye occurs within 24 hours of the work-related incident, then you must report the event to OSHA.

Employers do not have to report an event if it: Resulted from a motor vehicle accident on a public street or highway (except in a construction work zone); Occurred on a commercial or public transportation system, such as airplane or bus; Involved hospitalization for diagnostic testing or observation only.

Twenty-one states operate their own occupational safety and health programs for private sector and state and local government workers. Reporting requirements may vary by state, although all states should have or be in the process of developing requirements that are at least as effective as OSHA's. For more information, visit the Office of State Programs' webpage.

OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are OSHA standards for Construction work, Maritime operations, Agriculture, and General Industry, which is the set that applies to most worksites. Examples of OSHA standards include requirements for employers to:

  • provide fall protection;
  • prevent trenching cave-ins;
  • prevent exposure to some infectious diseases;
  • ensure the safety of workers who enter confined spaces;
  • prevent exposure to harmful chemicals;
  • put guards on dangerous machines;
  • provide respirators or other safety equipment; and
  • provide training for certain dangerous jobs in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.

Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards. This clause is generally cited when no OSHA standard applies to the hazard.

The OSHA standard setting process is a lengthy process that takes many years and provides considerable opportunity for public engagement. To learn about changes to OSHA regulations or the issuance of new regulations, please subscribe to OSHA's e-newsletter, QuickTakes. This free, electronic newsletter is delivered twice monthly to more than 70,000 subscribers and provides the latest news about OSHA initiatives and products to assist employers and workers in finding and preventing workplace hazards. To subscribe, visit https://www.osha.gov/as/opa/quicktakes/subscribe.html. In addition, OSHA publishes all changes to regulations on its website: www.osha.gov. Information can also be found at: http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=FEDERAL_REGISTER&p_toc_level=0&p_keyvalue=&p_status=CURRENT

You can get information on health and safety hazards in the workplace either by searching the health and safety topics pages on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/index.html by topic or by looking up specific hazards in our A-Z index (www.osha.gov/html/a-z-index.html).

OSHA maintains a list of the top 10 most frequently cited standards across all industries. For more information about the top 10 most frequently cited standards, visit http://www.osha.gov/Top_Ten_Standards.html.

You can also search for commonly cited workplace hazards with your employer's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code. Once you know your four-digit code, visit OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page, enter your SIC code and view the information for last year.

An average of 13 Americans are killed on the job every single day of the year. In addition, tens of thousands die every year from workplace disease and nearly 4 million workers each year are seriously injured on the job.

Please see OSHA's Workplace Injury, Illness and Fatality Statistics page for data by state, industry and demographic. Links to the Bureau of Labor Statistics are also available.

The OSHA standard related to the proper storage of flammable and combustible materials is addressed in 1910.106, found at http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9752. However, for more specific regulations on the design, construction, and capacity of storage cabinets, refer to https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_id=10673&p_table=STANDARDS, and for additional information on the storage of flammable liquids, refer to: http://www.osha.gov/dte/library/materials_library.html#flammable.

For further guidance on capacities for flammable cabinets, the following agency may offer assistance: Agency: National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Website: http://www.nfpa.org/. Contact: 800-573-6372.

For frequently asked questions and answers on silica, please see http://www.osha.gov/silica/Silica_FAQs_2016-3-22.pdf

OSHA-authorized trainers issue student course completion cards to individuals who successfully complete an OSHA Outreach Training Program class. The Outreach Training Program offers 10-hour or 30-hour classes for Construction, General industry, Maritime, and a 15-hour class for Disaster Site Worker. In order to obtain an OSHA card, an individual must attend and successfully complete the entire class, including all requisite topics and the minimum number of contact hours. Please note that an OSHA card is not considered a certification or license.

For information on classroom training, please contact an OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center in the area where you are looking for training to obtain information on active trainers in that area (see www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/ato.html). Some of these OTI Education Centers may also offer the 10-hour program. Finally, OSHA Consultation offices may offer the 10-hour program or similar training (see www.osha.gov/dcsp/smallbusiness/consult_directory.html). The current list of OSHA-accepted online 10- and 30-hour Outreach Training Programs is provided below. OSHA recommends that interested students compare program offerings in order to select the one that best meets their training needs.

The OSHA Outreach Training Program teaches workers about their rights, employer responsibilities, and how to file a complaint as well as how to identify, abate, avoid and prevent job related hazards. Although the program is voluntary, some states, employers, unions and other jurisdictions require this training to fulfill their safety training goals. For additional information, visit the OSHA Outreach Training Program website at www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/index.html.

The 10-hour course is intended for entry level workers. The 30-hour program is for workers with some safety responsibility.

No, these classes are voluntary. OSHA recommends Outreach courses as an orientation to occupational safety and health for workers. However, some states have enacted laws mandating the training. Also, some employers, unions, organizations or other jurisdictions may require this training; you will have to check with these organizations regarding their requirements.

OSHA authorizes trainers to conduct occupational safety and health training through the OSHA Outreach Training Program. Through this program, individuals who complete a one-week OSHA trainer course receive a certificate of completion and an authorized outreach trainer card. Trainer courses are based on one of the following subject areas: disaster site workers (second responders), construction, general industry, or maritime. Upon successful completion of the trainer course, trainers are authorized to teach students courses based on the trainer course subject area. These include two-day courses for disaster site workers (second responders), as well as 10-hour and 30-hour courses in construction, general industry, or maritime safety and health hazards. Authorized trainers can receive OSHA course completion cards for their students. The OSHA Outreach Training Program is voluntary. OSHA does not require participation in this program.

To become an authorized OSHA Outreach Trainer, you must complete a required OSHA trainer course and complete/meet the necessary prerequisite requirements found at www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/faqs.html. For a complete list of all the OTI Education Centers and their approved courses, please visit the OTI Education Center Locations page.

OSHA is a federal regulatory agency within the United States, whose mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA does not accredit organizations and does not certify individuals. The agency covers private sector employers and their employees in the 50 United States and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

OSHA training programs such as the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center program and the Outreach Training Program are intended for workers covered under the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, and within the agency's jurisdiction. Outreach Training Program policy has been designed to reinforce the intended program emphasis and limit the amount of OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour training classes conducted outside of the agency's jurisdiction. OSHA courses for the general public, including online courses, are only offered in training locations within the agency's jurisdiction. There is no international OSHA training program.

OSHA does not maintain a database with all the 10-hour and 30-hour courses conducted and the names of the students who attended these classes. If you have lost or misplaced your student course completion card, you must contact your Outreach trainer for a replacement. Your Outreach trainer will have to contact their Authorizing Training Organization for the replacement. Replacement cards will not be issued if the training took place more than three years ago. Only one replacement card may be issued per student per class, and a fee may be charged by the Authorizing Training Organization to replace a course completion card.

For privacy reasons, OSHA does not provide individual verification of student course completion cards or authorized trainer cards. Verification of Outreach card authenticity is at the discretion of the cardholder. If an individual holding an OSHA Outreach student course completion card wishes to verify the authenticity of their student course completion card, the individual can provide the name and contact information of the authorized trainer who issued the student course completion card. Each authorized OSHA outreach trainer is required to maintain records on their training for a period of five years.

The student course completion cards in Construction, General Industry, and Disaster Site do not have an expiration date. The student cards provided in the Maritime Outreach Training Program expire five years after the training. To retain a valid 10- or 30-hour Maritime Industry card, students are required to complete additional training. The Outreach Training Program is intended as an orientation to Occupational Safety and Health. Workers must receive additional training on specific hazards of their job. See https://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/index.html for more information on training.

OSHA does not offer a refresher course for the Construction and General Industry programs. New cards are only issued if a new course is completed.

Outreach trainers are required to issue student course completion cards directly to the student within 90 days of course completion, regardless of who paid for the training. If you have not received your card within the 90-day period, contact your trainer immediately. If your trainer does not provide the card as requested, notify the Outreach Training Program by email (outreach@dol.gov). Please be sure to include all relevant information such as student name, trainer name, training location and date, type of class, and actions taken to contact the trainer.

Write to outreach@dol.gov or call the outreach fraud hotline at 847-297-4810 to file complaints about program fraud and abuse. Provide all pertinent information, including the trainer's name, the date of training, the location of the training, the type of training (Construction, General Industry, Maritime, Disaster Site Worker), and whether it was to cover 10 or 30 hours. Include any other relevant information including your name and contact information. Please note that OSHA will maintain the confidentiality of the person providing the information.

How do I find OSHA-Authorized Online Outreach Training Providers? The current list of OSHA-Authorized online providers is available on the Outreach Training Program Website at: http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/training_providers.html

For additional frequently asked questions and answers on outreach training, including the new plastic student and trainer course completion cards, please see http://www.osha.gov/dte/outreach/faqs.html

If you have a question about payment or wages, contact the Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division by calling 1-866-4-USWAGE (1-866-487-9243) or visiting www.dol.gov/whd.

Workers' compensation (for non-Federal workers) is a state-run program. For individuals injured on the job while employed by private companies or state and local government agencies, contact your state workers' compensation board. Information on workers' compensation for Federal workers is available at www.dol.gov/owcp.

OSHA does not have any specific regulations on long work hours. We have listed below a few resources for you from OSHA as well as the Department of Labor Wage and Hour Division. You can find information you requested in the OSHA resources listed below: For OSHA's information regarding extended or unusual work shifts, see the following letter: http://www.osha.gov/OshDoc/data_Hurricane_Facts/faq_longhours.html. Below you will find the web link to an OSHA Letter of Interpretation pertaining to Hours-Of-Service (HOS) regulations: https://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=INTERPRETATIONS&p_id=19374 . For further information, see http://webapps.dol.gov/dolfaq/go-dol-faq.asp?faqid=322&faqsub=Work+Hours&faqtop=Wages+%26+Work+Hours&topicid=1 .

Employers cannot refuse to allow employees to drink water or require employees to pay for water that is provided. However, employees may not consume beverages (including water) in a toilet room or in any area exposed to a toxic material.

OSHA's Sanitation standard states that "potable water shall be provided in all places of employment, for drinking, washing of the person, cooking, washing of foods, washing of cooking or eating utensils, washing of food preparation or processing premises, and personal service rooms." See OSHA's Sanitation standard for more

OSHA's Sanitation standard requires that employers make toilet facilities available so that employees can use them when they need to. The employer may not impose unreasonable restrictions on employee use of the facilities.

For more information, see:

OSHA's sanitation standard at 29 CFR 1910.141(a)(5) requires that employers construct, equip, and maintain their workplaces to prevent rodents and insects from entering into the workplace, and if they are discovered, an effective extermination program must be implemented.

For further information on this subject, please see OSHA's Sanitation standard at www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9790.

For further information on this subject at your construction location, please see OSHA's Sanitation standard for construction (1926.51) at www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10624.

Employer responsibilities for controlling vermin can be found in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart J - General Environmental Controls, which covers vermin control at permanent places of employment at 1910.141(a)(5) www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9790; and for temporary labor camps in 1910.142(j) www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=9791 for general industry; and at 1926.51 for construction www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owadisp.show_document?p_table=STANDARDS&p_id=10624.

If you believe working conditions are unsafe or unhealthful, we recommend that you bring the conditions to your employer's attention, if possible. A worker may file a complaint with OSHA concerning a hazardous working condition at any time. If the condition clearly presents a risk of death or serious physical harm, there is not sufficient time for OSHA to inspect, and, where possible, a worker has brought the condition to the attention of the employer, the worker may have a legal right to refuse to work in a situation in which he or she would be exposed to the hazard.

Private Sector Workers - OSHA covers most private sector employers and workers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state plan. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. To find the contact information for the OSHA Federal or State Program office nearest you, see the Regional and Area Offices map.

State and Local Government Workers - Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in those states that have an OSHA-approved state program. Five additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only. This includes: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these five states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.

Federal Government Workers - OSHA's protection applies to all federal agencies. Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor these agencies and conducts federal workplace inspections in response to workers' complaints.

If you are injured, call a supervisor for help. If the supervisor is not available, get medical assistance or call 911.

All employers must notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality or within 24 hours of any work-related inpatient hospitalization, amputation or loss of an eye. [Employers under federal OSHA's jurisdiction were required to begin reporting by Jan. 1, 2015. Establishments in a state with a state-run OSHA program may have a different implementation date].

For more information, see OSHA's How to File a Safety and Health Complaint web page at http://www.osha.gov/workers/file_complaint.html.

Safety and Health Complaint

Workers or their representatives may file a complaint online or by phone, mail, email or fax with the nearest OSHA office and request an inspection of a workplace if they believe there is a violation of a safety or health standard, or if there is any danger that threatens physical harm, or if an "imminent danger" exists. A worker may also ask OSHA not to reveal his or her name. In addition, anyone who knows about a workplace safety or health hazard may report unsafe conditions to OSHA, and OSHA will investigate the concerns reported.

Whistleblower Complaint

If a worker believes an employer has retaliated against them for exercising their safety and health rights, they should contact their local OSHA office right away. You must file a retaliation complaint with OSHA within 30 calendar days from the date the retaliatory decision has been both made and communicated to the worker. OSHA will accept your complaint in any language. No form is needed, but workers must call OSHA within 30 days of the alleged retaliation (at 1-800-321-OSHA [6742]). For more information, visit www.whistleblowers.gov.

Safety and Health Complaint

Written, signed complaints submitted to OSHA area offices are more likely to result in an on-site OSHA inspection. Most online or unsigned complaints are resolved informally over the phone with your employer. Complaints from workers in states with an OSHA-approved state plan will be forwarded to the appropriate state plan for response.

Whistleblower Complaint

OSHA conducts an interview with each complainant to determine the need for an investigation. If evidence supports the worker's claim of discrimination, OSHA will ask the employer to restore the worker's job, earnings and benefits.

Workers or their representatives must provide enough information for OSHA to determine that a hazard probably exists. Workers do not have to know whether a specific OSHA standard has been violated in order to file a complaint.

Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace.

See a listing of employer responsibilities.

Workers or their representatives may file a complaint online or by phone, mail, email or fax with the nearest OSHA office and request an inspection. A worker may also ask OSHA not to reveal his or her name.

To file a complaint call 1-800-321-OSHA (6742) or contact the nearest regional, area, state plan, or consultation office.

As a worker in the United States, you have the right to report work-related injuries and illnesses. Under OSHA law, your employer must develop a process for workers to report a workplace injury or illness and ensure that you are able to use this process. It is your employer's responsibility to guarantee that workplace practices do not discourage workers from reporting their injuries or illnesses.

If your employer does retaliate against you for trying to report an injury or illness, you have the right to file a retaliation complaint with OSHA. You must file the complaint with OSHA within 30 calendar days from the date the retaliatory decision has been both made and communicated to you (the worker).

Workers are entitled to working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm. To help assure a safe and healthful workplace, OSHA also provides workers with the right to:

  • Receive information and training about hazards, methods to prevent harm, and the OSHA standards that apply to their workplace. The training must be in a language that workers can understand;
  • Receive copies of the results from tests and monitoring done to find and measure hazards in their workplace;
  • Review copies of records of work-related injuries and illnesses that occur in their workplace;
  • Receive copies of their workplace medical records;
  • File a confidential complaint with OSHA to have their workplace inspected;
  • Participate in an OSHA inspection and speak in private with the inspector;
  • File a complaint with OSHA if they have been retaliated or discriminated against by their employer as the result of requesting an inspection or using any of their other rights under the OSH Act; and
  • File a complaint if punished or discriminated against for acting as a "whistleblower" under the 21 additional federal laws for which OSHA has jurisdiction.

You can research your employer's inspection history through OSHA's Establishment Search. Type in the name of your company and choose the dates you want to cover.

You'll need to know your employer's Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) Code. Once you know your four-digit code, visit OSHA's Frequently Cited OSHA Standards page, enter your SIC code and view the information for last year.

OSHA provides technical information to assist workers, employers, and safety and health professionals in reducing occupational injuries and illnesses. Find information on bloodborne pathogens, machine guarding, ergonomics or fall protection, for example.

OSHA provides a variety of educational materials and resources, including publications on worker rights, employer responsibilities, All about OSHA, job hazards, and means of prevention. See OSHA's Publications page for a complete listing of available materials or to order publications online. OSHA also maintains Safety and Health Topics pages about specific workplace hazards as well as individual industries. Also available are training materials produced by grantees of a Susan Harwood Training Grant.

OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods that employers must use to protect their employees from hazards. There are OSHA standards for Construction work, Maritime operations, Agriculture, and General Industry, which is the set that applies to most worksites. Examples of OSHA standards include requirements for employers to:

  • provide fall protection;
  • prevent trenching cave-ins;
  • prevent exposure to some infectious diseases;
  • ensure the safety of workers who enter confined spaces;
  • prevent exposure to harmful chemicals;
  • put guards on dangerous machines;
  • provide respirators or other safety equipment; and
  • provide training for certain dangerous jobs in a language and vocabulary workers can understand.

Employers must also comply with the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act, which requires employers to keep their workplace free of serious recognized hazards. This clause is generally cited when no OSHA standard applies to the hazard.

OSHA has developed a number of guidance documents to assist employers and workers in developing workplace violence prevention programs. OSHA's informational page regarding workplace violence contains these guidance documents, along with other information you may find helpful. Please refer to www.osha.gov/SLTC/workplaceviolence/index.html.

Included in these resources are OSHA's inspections procedures pertaining to workplace violence. These procedures also provide useful information on identifying hazards relating to workplace violence and effective means for reducing or eliminating such hazards. For more information, see www.osha.gov/OshDoc/Directive_pdf/CPL_02-01-052.pdf.

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