6 OSHA Compliance Requirements Most General Industry Companies Face

OSHA Compliance Requirements
The other day, I was working with a customer who had just partnered with Convergence to begin improving her company’s current safety training program.

She’s a busy professional who wears many hats at work and has many responsibilities. One of them is to be sure the appropriate safety training is delivered to the workers at her company.

But she’s not a safety professional, and was a little confused about where to start and how to know what’s necessary. So we spent a little time with her, working things out, and while we did that, we passed some resources along to her.

One of them was an online guide from OSHA that we’ve found handy in the past:  their Compliance Assistance “Quick Start” Guide for General Industry. Have you seen it?

If you haven’t, write a note to yourself to check it out soon. Just check it out at that link above.

To make that even easier, we’re going to write a series of three blog posts that walk you through the OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start. We’ll break our posts down in the following order:

  1. Six compliance requirements that apply at MOST all companies
  2. Nine additional compliance requirements that MAY apply at your company
  3. Five final compliance considerations to keep in mind and that apply at MOST OR ALL companies

Because this is the first of those three blog posts, we’re going to cover compliance requirements that apply at most companies.

Remember that we’re discussing compliance for general industry right now. OSHA does have separate guides for construction industry compliance and health care compliance as well.


OSHA Requirements That Apply to MOST General Industry Employers

The first section of OSHA’s general industry compliance guide includes “selected OSHA requirements that apply to many general industry employers.” (Note: All quoted text in this article is drawn from the OSHA Compliance Assistance Quick Start).

These requirements, as listed by OSHA, include:

  • Hazard Communication
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Fire Safety
  • Exit Routes in the Workplace
  • Walking/Working Surfaces
  • Medical and First Aid

We’ll review each of those in the sections below.

In addition, we’ll give you some tips for training your workers on topics related to each of the sections. In doing that, we’ll provide some sample videos from our EHS eLearning library. Here’s a quick overview video of just a few of the highlights from those courses:


Hazard Communication Standard

The HazCom standard “is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves.”

To help employers comply with the HazCom standard, OSHA offers a number of helpful resources, including:

On the training front, employers must provide HazCom training, such as the HazCom eLearning course shown below.

The specific training about chemical hazards will vary from site-to-site and company-to-company. But other safety training topics to consider might be training on DOT/HazMat and chemical loading/unloading.

Training on DOT/HazMat  may also be helpful.

And so might training on chemical loading and unloading.

Emergency Action Plan Standard

The next requirement OSHA notes as applying to most general industry employers has to do with emergencies and emergency preparedness/response.

According to the OSHA Compliance Quick Start, “OSHA recommends that all employers have an emergency action plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard.”

OSHA’s guide provides these helpful resources:

As for training, an Emergency Action Plans eLearning course like the one below can help set the scene for your site-specific emergency action plan training.

Fire Safety

Yet another requirement that OSHA’s compliance guide suggests probably relates to all companies has to do with fires and fire safety.

Helpful resources that OSHA provides related to fire safety include:

As for fire safety training, you might consider a few different topics.

General training on fire safety can help by covering prevention and protective measures.

And you should consider training workers when and how to use a fire extinguisher in the event of a real fire at work.

Exit Routes

The compliance guide notes that “all employers must comply with OSHA’s requirements for exit routes in the workplace,” and they offer the following helpful resources:

A lot of this might be covered in your Emergency Action Plan training that we covered earlier.

In addition, training on topics such as fire safety, combustible dusts, and other workplace emergencies may also cover this topic.

Walking/Working Surfaces

Yet another compliance requirement that the OSHA quick start suggests would apply to most companies involves walking and working surfaces.

As the guide says, “Floors, aisles, platforms, ladders, stairways, and other walking/working surfaces are present, to some extent, in all general industry workplaces. Slips, trips, and falls from these surfaces constitute the majority of general industry accidents. The OSHA standards for walking and working surfaces apply to all permanent places of employment, except where only domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed.”

OSHA offers the following helpful resources to help employers comply:

As for training, you can cover a lot of this material during training on Slips, Trips, and Falls.

Pedestrian Safety training session can also touch on issues related to working and walking surfaces, and might be something to consider here.

Medical and First Aid

The last requirement that OSHA’s guide lists in the section that may apply to all employers addresses medical and first aid.

As the quick start guide notes, “OSHA requires employers to provide medical and first-aid personnel and supplies commensurate with the hazards of the workplace. The details of a workplace medical and first-aid program are dependent on the circumstances of each workplace and employer.”

To help employers comply with this requirement, OSHA offers these resources:

The type of training an employer would provide for medical and first aid requirements depends on the work context and job roles.

But regardless, training on a topic like Initial Steps in Providing Emergency First Aid could be a helpful addition to your training program at work.

Other first aid training could cover topics like the ones below:

Conclusion: OSHA Compliance for General Industry–What Most Companies Must Do

While OSHA compliance isn’t something you can do with no planning and with absolute ease, it’s also far from impossible, and OSHA provides many resources to help you out.

To review, this article listed some compliance requirements that OSHA feels would apply to most general industry employers.

Those requirements include the following EHS topics:

  • Hazard Communication
  • Emergency Action Plans
  • Fire Safety
  • Exit Routes in the Workplace
  • Walking/Working Surfaces
  • Medical and First Aid

In the second article in this three-article series, we’ll use the OSHA Compliance Guide to walk you through nine additional compliance requirements that OSHA feels MAY apply at a general industry company like yours. And the third article will draw attention to five additional compliance considerations to keep in mind.

What are your own thoughts on all this?

What about the guide, first? Have you used this guide before? Or what compliance resources do you use and recommend for others?

And what about the actual compliance requirements? What have you found difficult or challenging, and what great solutions have you put in place that you’d like to share with others?

The comments field below awaits your pearls of experience and wisdom.

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. Jeff has worked in education/training for more than twenty years and in safety training for more than ten. You can follow Jeff at LinkedIn as well.

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