OSHA’S Right to Know Program is a program crafted to specifically protect American men and women from the disposition of workplace hazards. OSHA – Occupational Safety and Health Administration, being the federally appointed labour agency, serves as the leading organization in development and maintenance of safety regulations and policies. OSHA’S Right to Know Program works in full-fledge support of American workers by mandating to employers, the legal obligation to inform employees about past, present, and future hazards associated with their given workplace; in fact, to withhold this information would deem the employer as unlawful. The foundation for OSHA’S Right to Know Program is primed by the importance of educating and training workers on elements specified by OSHA. OSHA’S Right to Know Program mandates that workers have the right to:
- Know about hazardous chemicals by receiving training and education in OSHA’S, Hazard Communication Standards 2012 which requires workplaces to: 1) provide information and training on hazardous chemicals; 2) keep an updated list of all chemicals present in the workplace; 3) ensure all hazardous chemicals and their containers are correctly labelled in accordance to HCS 2012, 4) make sure chemical safety data sheets are up-to-date and that employees are aware of their location
- Be given personal protective equipment (PPE) at no additional cost given that the work environment poses risk to the employee; examples of PPE may include goggles, earplugs, gloves, head-gear and etc.
- Know the laws and rights that support them by having the OSHA, Job Safety and Health, “It’s the Law” poster hung up at the forefront of the workplace, made visible to all workers.
- Be informed about past workplace injuries & illnesses by receiving copies of OSHA Form 300 records. Employers are obligated to report illnesses and injuries of serious nature; ones which require medical attention, result in decreased work-loads, or lead to time-off work for recovery. These records provide workers with greater insight into their workplace injury rate, allowing them to better prepare for and/or prevent such hazards
- Know about exposure data that has potential to adversely affect the work environment. Employers are to routinely test for the presence of hazardous substances such as lead and asbestos. Other occupational hazards requiring routine assessment include radiation levels or constant exposure to loud-noise.
Overall, the intent and implementation of OSHA’S Right to Know Program allows workplaces to better protect their employees by finding and fixing hazards, such that workplace illness and injury can be both prevented and reduced.