OSHA is an acronym for the occupational safety and health administration. This is an extension of the United States Department of Labor. The main aim is to ensure upholding of the rights and freedoms of employees especially in the form of provision of a safe and health workspace. Georgia is one of the states that are not exactly state planned, as far as OSHA regulations are concerned. However, the OSHA regulations are enforced in this state, but only in the private sector. The public employees are protected by the mandate of the PEHCPA (Public Employee Hazardous Chemical Protection) and Right-to-Know Act.
An important factor to consider in the protection of employees’ rights is that OSHA regulations always override any conflicting laws in the state. States are allowed to devise their own regulations, but these only become legally binding once they are approved by the federal government. The state of Georgia has not, as yet, made such changes in the regulations. This means that the federal OSHA regulations are applied in the governance of safety and health standards for nonprofit firms and private businesses. Over and above the existence of the OSHA laws for the private sector workforce, Georgia has its own hazard communication laws for governing the workers’ rights in the public sector in areas such as schools, local and state governments. These rules are the only ones that are applicable in the state of Georgia, as far as the public sector workforce is concerned. In order to assist the employers in compliance with the health and safety programs, Georgia State has Georgia Tech Research Institute (GTRI) to implement this role (Jones & Bartlett, 764).
OSHA regulations requires the member states to conduct random inspections of working conditions to ensure that employers are complying with the set rules and regulations on safety and health. However, inspections can also be summoned by disgruntled employees or any other party who wishes to forward a complaint about the work conditions in a certain firm. The OSHA regulations cover a variety of areas as far as the safety of the employee is concerned. This may include hazardous communication, ionizing radiation, exposure to hazardous chemicals, and exposure to blood and bone pathogens among many others. These safety areas are clearly specified in the employers written work plan to indicate compliance to OSHA regulations. This helps to ensure that the regulations are adhered to and that the workers’ best interests are upheld in the state.
OSHA regulations are especially important in the private sector due to the competitive nature of the market. As such, firms will opt to try and outdo their competitors through stringent measures. This is especially through enforcement of a strict cost reduction scheme or alternatively through maximum utilization of the employees output. This, if left uncontrolled, can result in massive abuse of workers’ rights. This may be through minimal rest days, poor pay and excessive working hours during any particular week (Nielsen, 288).
Injuries in the workplace an also occur due to workers’ own willingness to have increased output. This is especially the case where employees are assured of increased allowances if they increase their productivity. In an attempt to work at a faster rate, injuries, accidents and errors may result. Firms are required to keep tabs on the maintenance schedules of plant and equipment. This helps to minimize the possibility of occurrence of accidents due to physical damage of parts of the plant such as failure of brakes on a fork lift, and the like.
Accidents can also be due to human factors such as psychological causes. These may be associated to ignorance, stress, and lack of sufficient attention when working. These errors are normally corrected through a firm’s safety guidebook. Such a plan to ensure illnesses and injuries are kept at a minimum in the workplace is referred to as an illness-injury plan (Hirsch & Quillen, 476)
Labor management requires the incorporation of safety measures for employees as they work. Personnel can be trained on first aid measures and various fire response procedures. This is normally implemented through random fire drills to ensure that the employees at the workplace can respond in manner to uphold their personal safety and that of their neighbor. It is also a common practice for firms to have stringent policies on safety while working. A safety engineer or officer is normally mandated to ensure that workers wear personal protective equipment while working to minimize injuries.
OSHA regulations are important since when adhered to it leads to a reduction in the lost work time accident (LTA) rate. This is the time lost due to loss of an employee. It usually leads to staling of a production process due to lack of the person responsible. The time lost by such an occurrence is irrecoverable and may lead to significant losses in terms of revenue that would have accrued. However, workers who are injured on the job while having taken the minimum required precautions and significant care while working are supposed to be compensated. This may be through continued pay while injured or payment of hospital bills. Such compensation is normally handled by insurance companies after sufficient evidence has been gathered through an investigation.
Legal Liability: A Guide for Safety and Loss Prevention Professionals. Jones & Bartlett Pub,
Nielsen, Ronald P. Osha Regulations and Guidelines: A Guide for Health Care Providers.
Albany, NY: Delmar, 2000. Internet resource.
Hirsch, Jeffrey L, and Roger K. Quillen. Labor and Employment in Georgia: A Guide to
Employment Laws, Regulations, and Practices. , 2003. Internet resource.