The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a government agency that provides compliance assistance and enforcement for health and safety procedures in the workplace. OSHA's regulations cover many topics, including the types of protection employers should have for employees, how to safely operate machinery and the types of protective equipment needed to work with specific equipment.
Heavy construction equipment and dangerous machines in places such as warehouses are subject to OSHA standards. In many cases, those who want to operate these types of machines will need to pass an OSHA training course and earn certification. OSHA training programs are available through the employee's company, community colleges and online. Certifications include those for handling hazardous waste, operating construction equipment and general industry safety.
OSHA also provides regulations and guidelines for those who perform maintenance on heavy equipment. All garages that work on this type of equipment should have the shop safety checklist provided by OSHA, and it should be reviewed regularly by the employer. The checklist also details the primary areas an OSHA inspector will check during an annual inspection. OSHA provides videos, worksheets and tests for equipment maintenance safety procedures.
Personal Protective Equipment
Personal protective equipment (PPE) is essential for following OSHA guidelines on equipment safety. All types of heavy or dangerous equipment have specific recommendations for the type of protective gear that should be used by the equipment operators. Some of the most common types of PPE include hard hats, protective gloves, safety goggles and strong work boots. Employers are responsible for informing employees about what type of PPE they need to use, how to care for it and how to request replacement gear.
Hazardous equipment at the workplace is subject to OSHA inspections. An inspection by OSHA helps the employer determine where hazards are located throughout the workplace. Equipment must be inspected to make sure it is functioning properly. The area around dangerous equipment also will be inspected. An OSHA representative will check to make sure material safety data sheets are posted and what safety equipment operators are using.
OSHA requires that facilities have an emergency action plan in place. This action plan should be created by the employers and reviewed regularly by employees who work with dangerous equipment. The emergency action plan outlines what employees should do in an emergency, such as an injury, explosion or equipment malfunction. The action plan also must include details on an alarm system to notify of an emergency, off-site storage of important documents and alternative methods for communication.