Every employee is entitled to a safe and conducive working place as provided by the Statutes of land. Similarly, OSHA’S Act of 1970 provided for the employee protection which addressed the various matters related to workplaces including killings in the line of duty among other harms caused by hazardous substances. The introduction of OSHA law ensured that employers offer their subjects or rather employees an environment that is free from deliberate dangers as well as safeguarding their health concerns. The law moreover provides a training and informative programs to help the workers and employers (Jung & Makowsky, 2014).OSHA laws offer for absolute rights that workers should be accorded to when on duty. It ensures that workers gain the knowledge of identifying the hazards involved in their working environments. OSHA standards cover a wide range of business sectors which include agriculture, maritime, construction and general industry which comprises the best part of employees. The rules provide for a broad range of hazards that employees encounter in their daily endeavors. Among the standards include the limitation to exposure to toxic chemicals, noise pollution, safe work equipment and practices as well as proper documentation and monitoring of sickness and injuries that are work-related (Wilcox & Marria, 2016).These laws have considerably helped improve the working environment for employees in the United States.
To begin with, OSHA standards provide for full employee protection where safety equipment and protective clothing are to be offered for the free. This law has made many companies strive and minimize the hazards involved when handling hazardous substances. Equipment such as goggles, respirators, gloves, earplugs and proper protective gears have been employed to help control the risk in workplaces. Employees are also entitled to this protective at a free charge for maximum protection within the working environment. Most of the modern companies in the US embrace this standard where protective clothing is worn, provision of earplugs to reduce noise in industrial setups as well as the use of gloves in an institution such as hospitals and research organizations where hazardous chemicals and substances are handled. According to Noe et al’s (2003), this has considerably reduced the exposure of employees to chemicals thus a favorable environment which translates to high productivity. Contrary to this, the traditional or rather ancient workplace was exposed to more hazard as no laws existed to protect employees and the employers did not sufficiently implement the few from the federal government (Lyons & Kuron, 2014). This, therefore, translated to high mortality rates as a result of exposure to toxic substances as well as other physical disorders like hearing problems due to noise pollution.
Secondly, OSHA laws provide employees with the right to information. Employees are entitled to reports on the hazards present in their workplace .they are also allowed to know how to protect themselves in the occurrence of such risks.OSHA standards require employees to incorporate different techniques to create awareness about the hazards to their employees (Wilcox & Marria 2016).Example of these methods includes training the employees on the dangers and how to protect themselves whereby they are still entitled to their wages during the training. Employers should also ensure warning and color coding signals which are easily interpretable put on every department and machinery which hazard risks. A good number of organizations in the US have employed these standards where the employees are entitled to training on hazards. For instance, the ISO training and certification programs which ensure that employees are equipped with sound industrial practices for quality management (Jung & Makowsky 2014). Companies have also provided for fast aid training practices for its employees where they are trained on how to handle different situations that may erupt in their workplaces. The advancement in modern technology has also ensured safety management where the introduction of CCTV among other monitory gadgets has made it possible to provide for real-time rescue in the event of hazards exposure. Generous distribution of fire extinguishers and alarm switches has also made it possible to address the issue of safety among employee (Noe et al., 2003). Ancient workplaces were however characterized by immerse hazard exposure due to the rigidity that was experienced by the employers and their workers. Employees were subjected to duties without any freedom to inquire about their safety. Teamwork was never prioritized as it would seemingly demean the authority of the employers towards their subjects (Lyons & Kuron, 2014). Workplaces were therefore hostile as many work-related cases were ignored or received little attention if any.
Thirdly, OSHA laws provide the employees with the right to have information on hazardous chemicals. This, therefore, requires that all the employees be trained and equipped with relevant information on the substances they handle. Moreover, it is mandatory that the employers give adequate training in a manner that can be comprehended by all the employees. The law also demands that a list of harmful chemicals be made available to the employees (Jung & Makowsky, 2014). Employers should even make sure that all the hazardous substances are labeled with hazard warning signs as well as making them possible in safety data sheets which contain relevant information for handling them, their effects, emergency measures upon exposure and preventive measures (Wilcox & Marria, 2016). Modern working environments have ensured that hazard warning signs are provided in all machinery, substance, and department with risks of hazard exposure. For instance, most research laboratories and mechanical systems in the US are fitted with hazard labels. Similarly, manufacturing companies have ensured safety data sheets accompanying their products and services which have promoted safety thus reducing the mortality rates in regard to hazard exposure (Lyons & Kuron, 2014).Ancient environments, on the other hand, experienced high death rates due to exposure to hazardous substances as well as lack of proper information about substances leading to considerable accidents.
OSHA laws also provide for rights for employees to be aware of their rights in the workplace as well as the laws that govern them (Wilcox & Marria,2016).This has been made possible by ensuring that all the OSHA official posters on health and job safety are displayed by the employer in strategic points where all employees can see. Most of US business organizations are embracing digital platforms by making these laws available on their employee portals and companies websites. Other enterprises provide for notice boards that are strategically located for employees to get the information without any hustle. This has encouraged morale among employees as well as respect between them and their counterparts thus competitive advantage (Noe et al., 2003).In contrast, traditional workplaces were characterized by no legal provisions for employees’ safety thus subjecting them to harsh rules and regulations which only favored the employers (Lyons & Kuron, 2014).
Last but not least, OSHA provides for the right to access information on illness and injury records (Wilcox & Marria, 2016).This is however directed to employers with a total number of workers exceeding 10.Employers are therefore expected to record all sickness that is work-related as these records are essential for analysis and evaluation of practices that will help contain further occurrences. It also provides light to the employees on the activities that should be avoided. Right to exposure to information is also provided where tests can be run to establish hazardous substances in the workplace. Modern workplace environment offers for exposure monitoring where employees undergo tests after a specified period to ascertain the probabilities of exposure to hazards (Jung & Makowsky, 2014).For instance, employees exposed to nuclear radiation in military undergo frequent check-ups. Also, those in research and medical institution where hazard exposure is common are entitled to free check-up and follow-ups.This has ensured efficient and practical attention to the employee thus risk management (Lyons & Kuron, 2014).Ancient workplaces were however not subjected to these specifications. Therefore work-related infections and death were immense.
In a nutshell, the introduction of OSHA laws has improved the working environment for workers. It has ensured that both employees and employers co-exist which translates to high productivity. It is, therefore, a crucial law which all companies should fully implement as it not only creates a smooth working environment but also ensure global expansion for profit maximization.
Jung, J., & Makowsky, M. D. (2014). The determinants of federal and state enforcement of workplace safety regulations: OSHA inspections 1990–2010. Journal of regulatory economics, 45(1), 1-33.
Lyons, S., & Kuron, L. (2014). Generational differences in the workplace: A review of the evidence and directions for future research. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 35(S1).
Noe, R. A., Hollenbeck, J. R., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. M. (2003). Gaining a competitive advantage. Irwin: McGraw-Hill.
Wilcox, K. C., & Marria, S. P. (2016). Occupational Safety and Health Regulation. California Employment Law, 2.
Author: Joe Wathika from Oklahoma City University