The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency dedicated to the safety of workers and the enforcement of safety regulations. The organization has a presence in all 50 states and covers most private sector employers and workers. OSHA’s main goal is to provide a safe workplace for workers. As part of its job it conducts inspections and investigates accidents. New York private employers are monitored directly by the federal OSHA.
When OSHA makes an inspection, it does so based on priority level, with imminent danger situations given the highest priority, right above fatalities and employee complaints. There are generally two levels of inspection conducted: a comprehensive one and a partial one limited to potentially hazardous conditions. After an inspection has been conducted, the information is sent to interested parties and made public. An inspection may result in findings which can be used to support citations and penalties against the employer, but can also be used to provide evidence of negligence or unsafe work conditions.
Along with inspections, OSHA representatives also conduct investigations into accidents. OSHA investigations are different from what might be expected as they are only fact finding missions. The information learned through an accident investigation is used educate an employer on how to prevent future accidents by determining how and why the accident occurred. Although an accident investigation does not place blame, they can give one of the most comprehensive views of an accident.
Whether it is stopping work-related accidents before they happen or making detailed reports once they do, OSHA does a lot to assure worker’s safety.