The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

1.0 Introduction

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a safety precaution act that was established in 1970. It is administrative organ under the umbrella of United State department of labor. The founding institution of the agency is the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) whose main function is to document incidences of occupational injuries and exposures, health hazards and deaths in the U.S. This is helpful information to OSHA that should be assembled from different sources in the labor market. The mission of the act is to ensure that workers are employed under healthy and safe working conditions. In the U.S, nearly all workers are under the OSHA’s authority; however, self-employed people are not under the OSHA’s jurisdiction (Kahn, 1996).

2.0 Discussion

2.1 The Effectiveness of OSHA Regulations in Protecting the Well- Being of Workers

The effectiveness of OSHA laws relies on the enforcement of its set standards. OSHA inspectors should conduct planned inspections of sites. Thus, OSHA inspectors have to have a search warrant in order to conduct an inspection. This essential in ensuring that proper inspection is conducted. When violations are noted during inspections, the employers are supplied with penalties and an abatement episode is set. The penalties applied by OSHA can be criminal or civil and vary for different violations. There are serious penalties that are given an employer who makes repetitive and willful violations. The 15 days contestation period allows an employer to petition in case he or she feels she has been wrongly accused. The Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) of OSHA agency reviews written and oral evidences and gives an order. A dissatisfied employer can appeal in Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). The case is then taken to the United States federal court system. This means that the effectiveness of OSHA operations is a guarantee as the employer can have a petition or an appeal in case he or she is not satisfied with OSHA’s standards. In the recent years, OSHA has undergone through a reformation period that has seen the agency address various critiques. The 1995 OSHA emphasis of treatment of workers with chronic health problems has resulted to better health of employees in different industrial markets. Other OSHA reforms are based on enhanced employee participation, managerial commitment and systematic identification of health hazards, better documentation, training of supervisors and employees and overall reduction in illnesses and injuries in workplaces. However, the early notification of due inspection to employers offers employers enough time to clean-up of any mess in the work site. Thus, OSHA inspectors should conduct their inspection any time they so wish (Kahn, 1996).

2.2 The Individual Worker’s Responsibility of Assessing their own Health Risks

Individual workers are judged with the responsibility of checking the health risks. When employees are hired, their health progress should be documented and monitored by company’s qualified doctor. OSHA regulations necessitates that employers train their employees on different ways of avoiding unsafe working conditions and doing regular medical checkups. Employees should also have some knowledge on first aid provision. This is essential especially for workers in construction companies, as many minor injuries associated with such jobs. In addition, employees should always apply precautionary measures while working. They should wear their masks, aprons, helmets and other equipments that prevent work-related hazards. They should also be keen in employing effective methods like sandblasting for abrasive cleaning of metals, as this ensures that safety precaution. On the other hand, employers should also take on their responsibilities of ensuring that employees work in safe environments. The fact that employees can be responsible in terms of preventing health hazards should not offset the employer’s role in maintaining a healthy and safe workplace. Indeed, employers should promote training and sensitization of employees on health hazards and suitable precautionary methods.

2.3 Ways of Addressing Undocumented Employees in U.S Businesses and the E-Verify

Undocumented employees are legal issue that is persistent in U.S civil courts and labor courts. For example, in West Virginia, there has been increased budget expenditure because of the unlawful hiring of immigrant in construction companies. To address such problems, the employers are judged with responsibility of verifying all employees and reporting to governmental agencies. Introducing serious penalties to companies which practice illegal hiring can also help sort the menace. This is an important step in curbing potential revenue loss, tax loss and workers compensation schemes. E-verify is an internet service that is under that custody of the U.S department of Homeland Security. It is used to compare information of employees so as to have employment eligibility verification of a worker. The database is also used to know whether an employee is qualified to work in United States. In cases of mismatch, the employee and employer are notified so that the problem is resolved (Kahn, 1996). Thus, E-verify is essential in ensuring that undocumented employees’ mayhem is addressed effectively.

2.4 Ways of Addressing Adverse Effects of Sweatshop Labor Practices in U.S Businesses

Sweatshops are characterized by work environments with long working hours, low wages and unhealthy and unsafe working conditions. Sweatshops have had a long history in United States’ labor market. However, the recent globalization force has increased in many companies. Such companies take advantage of the low-wage sweatshop labor market in less-developed countries. The common example of sweatshop is in the garment industry that has attracted both local and international outcry. To address such labor problems, national attention should focus on advocacy programs and sensitization on the matter. Customers can be warned against buying certain products or brand names of companies that exploit their employees. Moreover, advocacy and lobby groups should pressure such companies to stop the sweatshop labor practices. Stringent laws and penalties should be put in place to ensure that employers who perpetrate such unlawful acts are judged in courts (Hartman, 2003).

3.0 Conclusion

Employee’s safety in the labor market is an important aspect that relates to the general performance of the corporation. Employers and supervisors who uphold employee’s safety ensures increased production and low expenditure. OSHA is an agency that ensures that certain regulatory measures are put in place to prevent hazards. Additionally, OSHA ensures that employees can access information and necessitates that employees employ personal protective measures. It is worth noting that personal safety precaution is essential in ensuring that health hazards are curbed. It is each employee’s responsibility to ensure that they work safely and efficiently. It is also employee’s role to ensure that his or her employment details are in order. This ensures that issues like deportation do not occur. On the other hand, employers should not exploit the poor immigrants, but should give their employees a fair wage.