OSHA Handbook for Small Businesses

Appendix D: OSHA Job Safety and Health Standards, Regulations, and Requirements

OSHA has four separate sets of standards: General Industry (29 Code of Federal Regulations [CFR] 1910), Construction (29 CFR 1926), Maritime Employment (29 CFR 1915-1919), and Agriculture (29 CFR 1928). OSHA has regulations on posting and other administrative matters in 29 CFR 1903 and on recording and reporting of injuries and illnesses in 29 CFR 1904.

The OSH Act also has a general duty clause, section 5(a)(1), 29 U.S.C. 654(b)(1), which provides that

(a) Each employer. . .

(1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

A recognized hazard is a danger recognized by the employer's industry or industry in general, by the employer, or by common sense. The general duty clause does not apply if there is an OSHA standard dealing with the hazard, unless the employer knows that the standard does not adequately address the hazard.

To order a copy of OSHA regulations, use the order form at the end of this handbook.

After you have obtained a copy of the current standards, those that apply to your business can be identified easily by a process of elimination. Read the introduction to the subpart heading, then analyze the possible hazards mentioned, but only in terms of your workplace, your equipment, your materials and your employees.

For example, if you are engaged in retail trade or service and you do not have compressed gases, flammables or explosives on your premises, you can eliminate Hazardous Materials (Subpart H) as not applying to your business.

If you have any questions determining whether a standard is applicable to your workplace, you may contact the nearest OSHA Area Office for assistance. Staff there should be able to answer any questions you may have about standards, as well as give you general guidelines on methods of implementing them in your workplace.

Small businesses are especially encouraged to participate in the development of standards.

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