The Occupational Safety and Health Administration creates and enforces safety standards for American workplaces. OSHA laws are designed to reduce the risk of injuries and fatalities in the workplace and include stiff financial penalties for businesses that do not comply with standards.

Financial penalties for safety violations aside, OSHA compliance offers multiple advantages to employers. OSHA workplace safety standards make work safer for employers and protect against potentially fatal incidents. OSHA compliance includes everything from preventing falls by keeping workplaces clear of clutter to training employees in the proper handling and storage of hazardous chemicals.

Your business will be subject to specific OSHA workplace safety standards other industries may not need to address, but almost all workplaces must adhere to general OSHA laws. The OSHA compliance checklist below will help you determine if your workplace is free of general hazards.

OSHA Compliance Checklist: Walking Surfaces

  • Are all passageways, storerooms, and service rooms orderly, clean, and sanitary? Does maintenance service these areas regularly to ensure they remain in safe condition?
  • Are all floors kept dry? Is appropriate drainage available for wet processes?
  • Are there any loose boards, holes, splinters, protruding nails, or loose tiles on the floor or work surfaces?
  • Are all aisles and passageways used for mechanical equipment properly marked and wide enough for safety?
  • Do ditches, pits, tanks, or trenches properly covered or surrounded by guardrails?
  • Are all floors and roofs marked with maximum load rating limits?
  • Are all floor and wall openings protected with guardrails or other safety devices?

OSHA Compliance, Ladders, and Scaffolding

  • Are handrails or railings installed on stairs with four or more risers?
  • Where regular travel between levels is required, do employees have access to fixed industrial stairs.
  • Are all ladders regularly inspected?
  • Do employees have proper ladder training to use portable ladders in accordance with OSHA compliance?
  • Do ladders longer than twenty feet (to a maximum unbroken length of thirty feet) have cages or other ladder safety devices installed?
  • Do fixed ladders of twenty or more feet have landing platforms?
  • Do fixed ladders have the correct pitch? Pitch cannot exceed 90 degrees.
  • Is scaffolding in accordance with OSHA workplace safety standards?
  • Are manually propelled ladder stands and scaffolding used according to OSHA laws?
  • Are portable loading bands secured?

Slips, Falls, and OSHA Workplace Safety

  • Are CAUTION signs used to mark wet surfaces?
  • Are spilled liquids and tracked-in rain promptly mopped?
  • Is loose debris promptly swept or vacuumed up?
  • Do you have appropriate absorbent materials to clean chemical spills?
  • Do you perform frequent equipment inspections to remove chronic slipping and falling hazards?
  • Is electrical wiring running across the floor loose or secured with tape?
  • Are refrigeration units, ice machines, and HVAC systems regularly serviced to prevent leaks?
  • Are parking lot or loading dock potholes promptly repaired?
  • Are all physical slip and fall hazards marked with yellow paint—including drop offs and inclines?
  • Is your flooring appropriate for your environment and industry?
  • Is floor regularly inspected for holes and other tripping hazards? Are such hazards repaired in a timely manner?
  • Do you use non-slip stair treads?
  • Are absorbent mats positioned at all doors leading outside?
  • Are low-profile abrasive mats used in area where oil and grease present possible hazards?
  • Do floor mats have beveled yellow edges to reduce the chance of tripping?
  • Do you use mats with non-slip backing in areas with wet surfaces?
  • Do you use chemical treatments to improve slip-resistance in high-risk or high traffic areas?
  • Does your maintenance crew use a floor cleaner that cleans without leaving a slippery residue?
  • Do your employees need slip-resistant footwear?

Emergency OSHA Compliance Checklist

  • Does your workplace have enough exits for a prompt and safe evacuation in the event of an emergency?
  • Are exit routes clearly visible and easy to identify?
  • Do any locks or other devices prevent access to emergency exits?
  • are all exit routes and doors free of obstructions?
  • Are any doors which could be mistaken for an exit labeled with “Not an Exit” signs?
  • Do exit signs have lettering at least six inches high and 3/4 inch wide? Are such signs illuminated?
  • Do you have a free-standing alarm to warn of fire and other hazards?
  • Are fire detection systems, alarms, portable fire extinguishers, exit lighting, automatic sprinklers, and fire doors regularly inspected and maintained?
  • Do you have an emergency response plan, and do all employees understand what to do in the event of an emergency?
  • Are specific staff members trained to assist others during an evacuation?

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and OSHA Compliance

  • Have you conducted a workplace hazard assessment to determine where PPE is required? Do you have written certification the assessment was performed?
  • Have you completed an arc flash safety check?
  • Can the hazard be resolved through engineering or work practice solutions?
  • Is available PPE appropriate for potential hazards?
  • Does PPE fit correctly?
  • Are employees trained in the proper use and maintenance of PPE? Do you have written certification all employees have received such training?

The OSHA compliance checklist above is hardly comprehensive. Depending on your industry you may have to comply with OSHA laws governing hazardous materials, lockout/tagout procedures, electrical safety, respiratory hazards, and more. An injury and illness prevention program  is an important step in ensuring OSHA workplace safety standards are in place.


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