Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California (CTCNC)
The Joint Labor-Management Sponsor of School-to-Work • Pre-Apprenticeship • Apprenticeship • Health & Safety • Journeylevel Advancement • Leadership & Supervision • Certification and Qualification Programs
OSHA 101: Learning the basics
Bill Drury, Training Officer Carpenters Training Committee for Northern California (CTCNC)
What is OSHA?
Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. This law created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to employers and workers. Under the OSH Act, employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace.
Who Does OSHA Cover
OSHA covers most private-sector employers and workers either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved State Program. State-run programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program. California has its own OSHA-approved State Program, which we call Cal/OSHA. Workers not covered by the OSH Act include self-employed workers, and workers whose hazards are regulated by another federal agency.
OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods employers are legally required to follow to protect their workers from hazards. Before OSHA can issue a standard, it must go through a process that includes substantial public engagement, notice and comment.
The agency must show that a significant risk to workers exists, and that there are feasible measures employers can take to protect their workers. Committees of interested parties then write a standard, which are compromises that all parties can accept.
OSHA standards are rules that describe the methods employers are legally required to follow to protect their workers from hazards.
Examples of OSHA standards include requirements to provide fall protection, prevent trenching cave-ins, ensure the safety of workers who enter confined spaces, prevent exposure to such harmful substances as asbestos and lead, put guards on machines, provide respirators or other safety equipment, and provide training for certain dangerous jobs.
On-site inspections can be triggered by a complaint from a current worker or his or her union representative if the worker believes there is a serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards. When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. A citation includes methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by when the corrective actions must be completed.
Help For Employers
OSHA offers free confidential advice to help employers identify and correct job hazards as well as improve their injury and illness prevention programs. Federal OSHA provides a free service, On-Site Consultation, for small businesses with fewer than 250 workers. On-site Consultation services are separate from enforcement, and do not result in penalties or citations.
Cal/OSHA Consultation services are provided free of charge to California employers. If you are an employer who wishes to obtain assistance from Cal/OSHA Consultation, or want to learn more about what services are available, you can do so by calling the toll-free assistance number, 1(800) 963-9424. If you want to arrange an on-site visit or obtain technical information, you can contact the Cal/OSHA Consultation area office nearest your workplace.
It is essential to have competent, careful personnel trained in general safety compliance issues. Go to our web site, ctcnc.org, click Journeylevel classes, or contact your Local Union and ask to be placed on the list for one of our many safety training courses. Your Carpenters Training Committee will schedule a class in your area based on your requests.
And, until next time remember... "A Journeylevel Class or Two Provides Safety for Others and You!"
Craft Quiz: OSHA
1. OSHA has been around since:
2. OSHA standards are written by:
d. Committees of interested parties
3. A union representative may file a complaint about a hazardous jobsite.
4. Self-employed workers are covered by OSHA.
5. Employers using OSHA consultation services will not be cited or fined for identified and corrected job hazards.
Answers: 1/c 2/d 3/a 4/b 5/a
Journeylevel upgrade and health & safety classes are scheduled or in progress,
please visit www.ctcnc.org to view the training schedule.