Employers use Online Safety Training to assist in meeting OSHA’s General Duty Clause

Employers use Online Safety Training to assist in meeting OSHA’s General Duty Clause

Occupational Health and Safety Administration’s (OSHA) standards are employer guidelines to address workplace hazards. The standards are largely a collection with specialized and specific instructions for industry known safety hazards and issues involving such topics as: scaffolding safety, safety signs and labels, electrical safety, confined spaces safety, ladder safety, excavation safety, fire safety, forklift safety, power tool safety, and hazardous materials.

“Each employer shall furnish to each of his/her employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”—29 U.S.C. § 654, 5(a)

Under OSHA’s General Duty Clause (GDC) (29 U.S.C. § 654) the Occupational Health and Safety Administration may invoke in a citation when a specific OSHA standard does not address a specific recognizable hazard. In order for the GDC to be engaged the following conditions must exist:

There must be a hazard;
The hazard must be recognized;
The hazard causes or is likely to cause serious harm or death;
The hazard must be correctable.

The above criteria can be applied to almost all hazards you can think of, although most hazards are already covered by specific OSHA standards. In OSHA’s reasoning, if there’s a correctable, recognized hazard, and only if there’s not a specific code for addressing the hazard, then OSHA must recognize the hazard under the GDC.

Recognition Is Key

The phrase that most industry-watchers pay attention to in the General Duty Clause is “recognized hazard.” What is a recognized hazard and what is not?

First, let’s look at what’s not recognized. OSHA considers terrorist attacks non-recognizable. A large sinkhole that suddenly envelopes part or all of a building without any warning might be considered non-recognizable. Hazards that are commonly recognized in one industry (e.g., the chemical manufacturing industry) that are unheard of in another (e.g. a retail clothing store) might be considered not recognized at the clothing store.

Your Hazards Are All Recognizable:

OSHA’s communication over the past few years has stressed hazard awareness and the agency has published information aimed at helping employers predict or recognize hazards such as combustible dust or increased exposure levels to certain chemicals.

According to OSHA, the following are indicators that your company has recognition of a hazard:

Written or oral statements made by management or employees during or before an OSHA inspection;
Any written documentation acknowledging the existence of a specific hazard;
Prior inspections or citations related to the hazard;
Employee complaints about the hazard;
Actions taken to address the hazard, if those actions failed to adequately abate the hazard.

In addition, OSHA considers recognizable any hazard that has been recognized within the employer’s industry, or governed by that industry’s standards. In essence, OSHA is saying that if others in your industry know about the hazard, then it’s your job to know about it, too.

Some indicators of industry recognition include:

Studies about the hazard published by industry, union, insurance, or government groups;
Published standards within the industry pertaining to the hazard.

OSHA also applies “Common Sense”

Whether or not a hazard is recognizable under the GDC. The agency’s revised Field Operator’s Manual (2009) specifies this form of recognition only in “flagrant or obvious cases.”  In OSHA’s mind the more hazards that can be recognized and measures taken to reduce them, the fewer the workplace injuries.

Engaging Employers and Employees in Hazard Recognition with Online Safety Training:

Since practically any hazard your employees face is considered “recognized,” it should be apparent that you need to train your employees on how to recognize workplace hazards. To assist employers and employees in how to recognize possible hazards within your industry and your facility, United Alliance Services has developed a series of online safety training courses that are directed towards hazard awareness and compliance training requirements within the OSHA General Duty Clause.

Discounted Online Safety Courses for Hazard Awareness and Recognition (Take an additional 10% discount off the below prices when you use Code: UASC10):

·        Online Safety Training on Fall Protection 

·        Online Safety Training on Confined Space

·        Online Safety Training on Recordkeeping & Reporting

·        Online Safety Training on Introduction to OSHA

·        Online Safety Training on Trenching & Excavation Awareness

·        Online Safety Training on Introduction to Stairway & Ladders 

·        Online Safety Training on Fire Safety

·        Online Safety Training on Personal Protective Equipment Safety 

·        Online Safety Training on Scaffold Safety

·        Online Safety Training on Electrical Safety

·        Online Safety Training on Power Tool Safety

·        Online Safety Training on Forklift Safety

You can find additional online health and safety training course by clicking here.

Need Assistance with Workplace Hazard Recognition?

Bring in an expert safety consultant or industrial hygienist from United Alliance Services to perform a safety inspection. By asking questions and addressing the findings, you will increase your expertise on hazards substantially. To request a free quote for consulting service click here.