OSHA Safety Updates: A Brief History

OSHA Safety Updates: A Brief History

The U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) is the primary reason aerial lift and scissor lift certification and training exist in the first place. Without OSHA, there wouldn’t be any government agency to enforce training standards, safety policies, and other important rules and regulations related to safety in the workplace.

OSHA was formed way back in 1971. Thus, OSHA is older than many aerial lift and scissor lift operators working today – perhaps including you! Since the early 1970s, OSHA has steadily increased their safety guidelines for aerial lifts and scissor lifts.

But how often do these updates occur? And what are some of the milestone safety updates that have impacted scissor lift and aerial lift use?

The safety experts here at AerialLiftCertification.com went back through the history books, legislation records, and other documents to find some interesting answers for you! For example, the OSHA 2015 updates are different from the OSHA 2018 updates. More recently, changes in safety legislation have prompted safety supervisors, aerial lift operators, and everyone in between to ensure their safety training is up to date, based on OSHA 2019 updates and modifications.

Since we’re always staying up to date with OSHA legislation changes and tweaks to safety rules, we have a better idea than everyone else about OSHA’s safety updates. That’s just one more reason why your company should sign up with AerialLiftCertification.com today.

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What Is OSHA? Here’s What You Need to Know About OSHA History

OSHA is an agency run by the U.S. Department of Labor. It works with state agencies to ensure safe work conditions for all workers across the United States.

Prior to OSHA, employers were held responsible for creating safe work conditions for their employees. But, there was no guarantee that employers would do everything possible to safeguard workers against accidents, injuries, and other on-the-job hazards.

With the creation of OSHA, employers were held accountable for workplace safety. Since its inception, OSHA has helped reduce the number of workplace accidents, injuries, and fatalities nationwide. OSHA continues to explore ways to continuously improve work conditions for all employees, across all industries as well.

What Is OSHA’s Mission?

OSHA’s purpose is to ensure workers can enjoy safe, healthy work conditions. To achieve its goal, OSHA establishes and enforces workplace safety standards. OSHA also provides training and assistance to help employers protect workers against on-the-job dangers.

OSHA Updates: Safety Milestones, Legislative Changes, and More

One of the most significant changes to OSHA occurred in 1979, when the government agency began seeking criminal prosecution and lawsuits for fatal workplace accidents. Prior to the late 1970s, OSHA was regarded by most companies as a safety guideline more than anything else.

From the early 1980s and to the present day, OSHA has continued to evolve as a workplace safety advocate. From promoting college graduates with scientific degrees as safety inspectors to mandating warning labels on hazardous substances, OSHA’s reputation really took hold in the 1980s and 1990s. Thanks to aggressive inspection and audit techniques – most accidents involving aerial lifts and scissor lifts received inspections – many companies were forced to take safety more seriously.

While OSHA handles safety for all U.S. companies, it is perhaps best-known for its safety guidelines for typical “blue collar” workplaces, such as warehouses, construction sites, and other jobs that use heavy-duty industrial equipment.

Aerial lifts have always been a focus of OSHA safety rules, simply given the elevated heights and hazards associated with this type of work.  The main OSHA standards that regulate aerial lift and scissor lift use include 29 CFR 1910.67, 29 CFR 1910.269(p), 29 CFR 1926.21, 29 CFR 1926.453, 29 CFR 1926.502. Some of OSHA’s most well-known aerial lift safety announcements include:

2002 – Key Switch Controlled Elevating and Rotating Aerial Lifts

2005 – Aerial Lift Fact Sheet

2011 – Aerial Lift Fall Protection Over Water in Shipyards

2012 – Snow Removal and Other Hazards (useful aerial lift operator resource)

Recent Requirements: OSHA Updates for Reporting and More

What’s more, recent recordkeeping rules have punctuated OSHA legislative priorities since the mid-2010s. One of the most important OSHA 2015 updates had to do with accident and injury reporting. Since 2015, OSHA requires all employers to report work fatalities within eight hours, and all hospitalizations within 24 hours. Unlike other years, the OSHA 2015 updates truly had a significant impact on the way businesses handle workplace accidents.

And that’s not all – the OSHA 2018 updates included further modifications to injury and accident reporting. In 2018, OSHA required employers to digitize all information related to injury, illnesses and accidents. Also known as OSHA 300A / Electronic Recordkeeping Requirement provision, this major part of the OSHA 2018 updates still impacts businesses and employers today!

As a direct result of the 300A requirement, the OSHA 2019 updates had an important employee information privacy policy enacted. It seems like many of the OSHA 2019 updates are increasingly concerned with protecting sensitive data. That’s no surprise, considering other federal initiatives (such as HIPAA) are designed to provide an extra measure on confidentiality for all information related transactions (hiring, HR records, etc.).

OSHA continues to publish useful information for aerial lift and scissor lift operators, safety personnel, and other employees related to safe aerial work platform (AWP) use. In 2011, the agency posted their popular fact sheet on aerial lifts, which contains plenty of helpful info. The fact sheet covers:

– Common hazards

– Proper operating techniques

– Training

– Fall protection

– Overhead protection

– Work zone stability

For a comprehensive overview of OSHA standards, don’t miss their Scaffolding eTool, which offers a complete rundown of safe operating methods, applicable OSHA safety rules, and other information.

How to Improve Workplace Safety During the COVID-19 Pandemic

In addition to following OSHA requirements, there are many things that employers must do to make their workplaces safe, particularly in the midst of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

COVID-19 has impacted the way businesses operate, and OSHA has released guidelines to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. These guidelines include:

– Do not allow workers to perform everyday tasks if they show any symptoms of COVID-19; instead, these workers should remain at home and get tested

– Require workers to wear a face mask at all times; this helps reduce the risk of spreading the coronavirus or getting infected by it

– Maintain a minimum of 6 ft. between all workers; social distancing helps minimize the risk of close contact that can cause the coronavirus to spread

– Encourage workers to wash their hands frequently with soap and water

– Keep worksites clean and disinfect door pulls, toilet seats, and other high-touch surfaces as frequently as possible

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, but workers who do their part to help slow the spread of the coronavirus can protect themselves and others during this challenging time.

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Stay on Top of OSHA Policy Updates with AerialLiftCertification.com

Imagine running your own safety program, all the while staying current with the latest OSHA safety guideline updates, or learning about past changes such as 2015 OSHA updates. That could be a significant burden on your HR department, safety coordinators, aerial lift operators, and others.

Let AerialLiftCertification.com do the heavy lifting for you. Our three courses automatically reflect any OSHA regulatory changes. If you had to track changes yourself (for example, the important 2018 OSHA updates), you’d most likely miss key safety knowledge. With AerialLiftCertification.com, you have everything you need to become OSHA compliant. That goes for both employees and employers!

We’re here to help with any questions you have. Call us directly at (888) 278-8896. If you’re ready to sign up and get started today, congratulations – you’re making an important (and necessary) step toward greater safety and 100% OSHA compliance!