OSHA

Also Known As: Occupational Safety and Health Administration

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is a federal agency that oversees workplaces, assuring that employees are safe and healthy. It establishes health and safety standards, including those that limit chemical exposure, require safety procedures and equipment, and assure employee access to information.

In addition, OSHA is responsible for enforcing whistleblower regulations. Worksites, including community and public pools, receive OSHA updates on new and edited regulations. In addition, OSHA inspectors may visit these locations to check for violations and assess fines, if necessary. It’s important to remember that these regulations are designed to keep employees safe, preventing injury and loss of life.

OSHA regulations cover private sector workers, as well as government (federal, state and local) employees. The self-employed are not covered by these laws. Under OSHA rules, employees must: 1. Inform employees about hazards of all kinds, with training, labels, chemical information sheets, signs and more. 2. Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses. 3. Post OSHA citations, injury and illness data and the OSHA poster. 4. Notify OSHA within 8 hours, if there is an incident resulting in death or when three or more workers go to a hospital.

In a pool or spa, OSHA regulations also focus on the handling of dangerous chemicals. In particular, regulations dictate that the manufacturer labels must remain on chemical containers and cannot be defaced. In addition, all safety data sheets that come with the chemicals are kept and readily available. (If safety data sheets are not included, the employer must contact the company to obtain them.) Finally, employees must be properly trained to handle these chemicals and be provided with protective gear that is in good working order. Other regulations address employee exposure to bloodborne pathogens.

Employees must be told of their rights under OSHA law. If an employee reports a workplace for breaking OSHA rules, the employer is forbidden to retaliate. Violations of OSHA regulations can result in fines or even imprisonment, if the violations resulted in death or serious injury.