Thanks to The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), you have a right to a safe and healthful workplace. The federal government subsequently established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). This act and organization paved the way for laws that make your employer liable for your safety while at work and take steps to ensure you’re not at risk from severe or fatal injuries.
Under OSHA, aside from the right to a safe workplace, you’re also granted occupational health and safety employee rights. This means you have the right to participate in an OSHA training program, acquire information, and access assistance so that you can conduct your tasks safely.
This article will help you understand OSHA Texas regulations and how to avoid OSHA unsafe working conditions.
The OSH Act was first drafted in 1970 under President Nixon. Its intention was to create the minimum standard for what constitutes a safe and healthful workplace. In conjunction with the OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NOSH) was tasked with the research involved in creating the guidelines based on research and scientific data to aid in work-related injury prevention. While each state is under the jurisdiction of these federal guidelines, states can adopt an OSHA-approved agency to supplement enforcement. The agency needs to maintain an as strict as, if not more stringent policy, than the one outlined by OSHA.
OSHA in Texas
Texas workplace safety also falls under the strict guidelines of OSHA. However, unlike other states who have partially or fully taken over their own workplace safety programs, Texas has not established its own agency. This means that Texas OSHA laws are set at the federal level.
While the Lone Star State hasn’t adopted a “state-plan” to supersede OSHA, Texas has established stricter guidelines for public operations and farmers (and their employees) concerning hazard communication requirements.
In some instances, employees are tasked to operate within a high-hazard workplace as well as being insured with regards to workers’ compensation standards and must receive OSHA training. Texas insurance companies also require the employee to formulate an accident prevention plan (APP).
Workers Rights and Coverage
At the core of the OSH Act is the right for workers to perform their duties within a safe and healthful workplace. In order to ensure workers can maintain these safety standards, certain rights have been extended to them. The right to a workplace free of known potential hazards includes being able to:
- Generate and file a report to OSHA Texas, have the premise inspected for any negligence, attend the inspection, and report any coercion from the employers regarding OSHA.
- Access safety information and training when handling hazards, addressing issues, and knowledge concerning addressing injuries.
- Access training in language and manner that is understandable.
- Have access to information about work-related injuries that have happened within the premises of the workplace.
- Have access to any personal medical records, test results, or documentation relating to measurements of potential hazards within the workplace.
Requirements and Safety
The OSH Act has laid out several requirements and safety guidelines that must be followed. Otherwise, a company can be subjected to hefty fines and penalties. Certain conditions can be contingent on the work environment, such as how to address battery fluid spills or the need for additional safety equipment such as eye washing stations. However, there are universal standards that must be met, including:
- Providing employees access and prerequisite knowledge to use and maintain their tools and equipment.
- The use of color codes and proper signage to identify potential dangers.
- Consistently informing the employees of any update relating to changes in procedures and how to adapt to any changes regarding the safety and health requirements.
- Publicly posting, within a well-trafficked area in the workplace, the OSHA poster which informs employees of their rights and responsibilities.
- Reporting to the local OSHA office any workplace fatalities within eight hours of the incident.
- Reporting to the local OSHA office any serious injury or hospitalization within 24 hours of the incident.
- Maintaining and safekeeping a record of all work-related accidents, injuries, and medical records. (A notable exception to this rule is that a company with ten or fewer employees conducting operations that have been classified as low-hazard are exempt from this rule.) These records must be made available to current and former employees or an authorized representative.
- Maintaining a ledger of authorized employee representatives that may be asked to attend an inspection and providing it to the local OSHA compliance officer.
- Refraining from discrimination against an employee who exercised their right to contact OSHA.
- Maintaining any OSHA citations that the workplace has received in the relevant area while correcting the violation by the set deadline.
More Information and Resources
To learn more about your OSHA Texas rights, contact Texas Motive Solutions. In addition to delivering the best-in-class motive power solutions from industry leader Hawker Powersource, Inc., we understand that a safe workplace is a productive one. We are dedicated to providing forklift dealers and warehouses the support they need.
Discover what we can do for you!