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Even if you know how important it is to ensure safe workplaces for employees, it can be a challenge to keep up with federal, state, and local health and safety at work legislation. The rules seem to change annually, and with every change, an employer needs to inform employees and update policies and procedures. Relying on the information provided by trusted resources like federal, state, and local agencies and your health and safety-related vendors can help.
The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a reliable resource for the most up-to-date health and safety at work legislation. The federal agency’s Compliance Assistance Quick Start tool offers employers a step by step guideline to follow for companies in the general industry, construction, and health care sectors.
It provides a high-level overview of regulations that arose from health and safety at work legislation, an introduction to identifying and mitigating hazards at work, and how to establish a health and safety program that includes training, recordkeeping, and reporting of health and safety incidents. In addition, OSHA offers companies more assistance through on-site consultations at no charge; consultants are experienced in their industry and offer advice, guidance, and insight to companies who want to ensure full compliance with health and safety at work legislation.
Most states have an agency that functions as OSHA does but at the state level; counties and municipalities often have additional legislation that companies need to comply with. In order to best ensure that your organization is following the rules, it’s wise to stay in contact with these agencies. Look for newsletter mailing lists, alerts, and other publications designed to keep you in the loop.
Joining regional, local, and industry-oriented groups can also be useful; many of these organizations also send out alerts when relevant legislation is proposed and passed. Action alerts can aid you in making sure your voice is heard by lawmakers considering health and safety at work legislation at all levels of government.
If you have a health and safety software program in place, you may be ahead of the game when it comes to keeping up with health and safety at work rules. Software applications that include modules related to compliance, incident reporting, and related functions must be updated as laws change.
As these changes come to your software program, they can guide your adoption of new policies and procedures in your organization. Many times, vendors also alert their clients of major changes to come so it provides an extra layer of protection against being non-compliant with new rules and regulations.
It may seem difficult to keep up with an awareness of work-related health and safety legislation but using the existing resources available through all levels of government and industry groups and your health and safety software vendors can minimize things falling through the cracks. The more you expand your information gathering efforts related to new laws, the better prepared you’ll be to take effective action in a timely way and avoid falling out of compliance.
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