OSHA Standards And Codes: The Pros And Cons


Since its founding, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been at the forefront in the endeavor to ensure that all the workplaces recognized under its mandate are safe to the workers. This means that the agency has prescribed standards and codes that have to be followed and adhered to in the workplaces to ensure health and maintenance of safety in all areas. However, like many other regulations and code, the OSHA standards and codes have their advantages and the negatives. The pros and cons of the standards and codes have been a significant contributor to the popularity of the standards and a great source of debate in occupation health.


Concerning the pros, OSHA as an agency was founded to ensure that the workplaces maintained the highest level of safety and health for all the workers to perform their duties safely. Following the OSHA standards ensures that the workplace does not become the source of hazard or ill health for the workers and that in cases of misfortunes leading to breach of safety, the workers are accordingly compensated by their employers. The agency and its standards provide not only a process to be followed in achieving standardization, but also one that will be followed by update of the systems and compensation follow-up. This means that the employees are protected from hazards that can be witnessed in the workplace and are, therefore, free to practice according to their job descriptions without fear. The implication of this is that employees exercise maximum productivity while the employers uphold their duty of care.


Further, the periodic inspections and renewal of safety licenses by the agency ensures that the standards are not only made present during the initial seeking of licensure but are maintained and sustained for as long as the workplace engages employees. This also serves to train the employees and employers on safety issues for the sustainability of the process.


Despite these pros, the OSHA standards and codes have some cons. First, the rules are limiting in that they fail to cover adequately all the sectors in which workers are involved. These areas include the informal self-employment sectors and farms. This is of great concern because of the trend currently witnessed in the labor market. Many people are leaving the formal employment to join the informal sector. The lack of adequate coverage in these areas means that a large group of workers is not covered. A second con is that most of the OSHA standards are outdated and no longer relevant in the modern work environments. This makes some of them vulnerable to misinterpretation, and many of the workers just comply without knowing exactly the importance of the standards.


The current debate on the applicability of the OSHA standards in the current work environment is critical. The benefits of these standards cannot be underestimated. However, concerns about the applicability in a different generation and various environments must be adequately addressed to ensure that the workers benefit from the standards and what they stand for.