The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) exists to create safe, healthy working conditions by setting and enforcing standards and providing training, education, outreach, and assistance. Because Colorado is under federal OSHA jurisdiction, these standards and regulations cover most private-sector workers within the state.
Maintaining a safe work environment increases employee engagement, performance, and productivity. Working in a safe environment elevates job satisfaction, employee morale, and attraction and retention rates. These factors contribute to a stronger bottom line.
Follow these five key OSHA regulations for Colorado employers to maintain a safe work environment.
Personal protective equipment (PPE) must be worn to minimize exposure to hazards that can cause injuries and illnesses. Contact with chemical, radiological, physical, electrical, mechanical, or other hazards can cause injuries and illnesses.
Examples of PPE include:
- Safety glasses
- Hard hats
- Full-body suits
PPE must fit specific requirements:
- Provided by the company
- Designed and constructed for safety
- Employees trained in proper use
- Properly fit
- Cleaned after use
- Effectively maintained
- Properly disposed of
Hand and power tools that are improperly used or maintained can cause severe injuries. Therefore, the tools must be used and maintained according to OSHA standards and regulations to maintain safety.
For instance, power-operated tools must be used with appropriate guards that are designed to accommodate them. Examples of these tools include:
- Other reciprocating, rotating or moving parts exposed to employee contact
Medical personnel must be readily available to provide advice and consultation for worker health:
- Adequate first aid supplies must be readily available.
- Effective facilities to quickly drench or flush the eyes and body must be in the work area for immediate use.
- If an infirmary, clinic, or hospital is not located near the workplace, one or more workers must be trained to provide first aid.
Moving machine parts can cause crushed fingers or hands, amputations, burns, blindness, and other injuries. Therefore, at least one method of machine guarding must be used to protect the operator and other workers in the area from a machine part, function, or process that might cause injury.
Potential injury points include:
- Points of operation
- Ingoing nip points
- Rotating parts
- Flying chips
Types of guarding methods include:
- Barrier guards
- Two-hand tripping devices
- Electronic safety devices
Health hazards from welding, cutting, and brazing include exposure to metal fumes and ultraviolet radiation. These hazards can cause burns, eye damage, electrical shock, cuts, and crushed toes and fingers. Many of these hazards can be controlled by using PPE and proper work practices.
For instance, fire hazards from welding must be minimized by removing all hazards in the work area and using guarding to confine the heat, sparks, and slag. Also, pails of water, buckets of sand, hoses, or portable fire extinguishers must be available for immediate use.
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