OSHA Compliance Quick Tips

OSHA Compliance

In order to keep your workplace safe, it is important to maintain OSHA compliance. Keep reading to learn eight ways to stay compliant.

Tip: Make sure emergency exits are kept unlocked from the inside while employees are in the office. According to OSHA, a company was recently cited for an alleged willful violation. The violation included the employer’s practice of keeping an emergency exit door fastened with a metal bar during working hours.

Tip: Each office should have a gathering place for employees to meet if there is an emergency evacuation from the office. But what if that gathering place is not approachable (e.g., hazards preclude gathering, or an explosion has destroyed the location)? Establish a call-in number that everyone knows, with instructions to call the number immediately if unable to get to the designated gathering place. This lets the employer, safety officer, and families know everyone is safe.

Tip: There should be an 18-inch clearance between items stored on top shelves and the ceiling in your office. This allows sprinklers to work properly.

Tip: When your medical waste is transported or mailed off-site, retain the manifest tracking form if required by your state (usually 2-5 years.) Proof of destruction can be provided to your office as a hard copy or in an electronic manifesting system.

Tip: Postings on your employee notice bulletin board should include (at a minimum):

  • “Right to Know” Poster OSHA Job Safety and Health: It’s the Law
  • Notice stating location of Safety Data Sheets (SDSs); First Aid Kit; OSHA Manual/Website; emergency numbers; contact person(s)
  • Emergency evacuation procedures or maps (required for offices with 11 employees or more but recommended for all offices)

Tip: In accordance with ANSI standard Z358.1, heads on your eyewash must be protected from airborne contaminants. This can be accomplished by assuring the head covers are in place. Also, make sure the valves can be activated in 1 second or less and the valves will stay open once activated (leaving hands free).

Tip: Many newly hired employees have had many years of experience and training on safety and health. Even so, when they are newly hired at an office, they must be trained on that office’s specific safety and health policies before ever beginning work.

Tip: The Safety Data Sheets (SDS/MSDS) maintained on hazardous products used in your office are considered a part of your employee medical records which have to be maintained for 30 years plus the length of employment. Instead of maintaining the SDS for products you no longer use, OSHA allows you to simply maintain the product name, manufacturer, time period for which the product was used in the office, and the location of use. This information should be included on your chemical inventory list; so keep the list instead of all of those outdated SDS/MSDS. An even easier solution is to maintain SDS/MSDS in an online management program.

Jan Harris

Jan Harris

Director of Environmental, Health and Safety at Sharps Compliance
Jan Harris holds a masters degree in Occupational Health and Safety Management and is an authorized OSHA outreach trainer. She has worked as a consultant focusing on OSHA and medical waste compliance since 1990, and for Sharps Compliance since 1999.
Jan Harris

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Author: Jan Harris

Jan Harris holds a masters degree in Occupational Health and Safety Management and is an authorized OSHA outreach trainer. She has worked as a consultant focusing on OSHA and medical waste compliance since 1990, and for Sharps Compliance since 1999.