Work Equipment

Work Equipment

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires employers to follow certain occupational standards for the maintenance and use of work equipment.

These regulations impose design standards, safe work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements , and training requirements on employers. Compliance with OSHA’s work equipment requirements prevents worker injuries and property damage that can occur from unsafe machinery operation.

Why is it important to comply with the work equipment regulations?

Machinery such as forklifts , cranes, slings , and blowtorches are necessary yet dangerous types of equipment that are used widely at many facilities.

OSHA requires employers that expect workers to use these types of equipment to implement health and safety measures to prevent work-related injuries. Failure to follow the work equipment standards increases the likelihood of an accident and lost productivity time at your plant.

Employers that do not implement adequate safe work equipment controls will also be subject to OSHA’s civil fines and, in some cases, criminal penalties.

Important work equipment provisions

OSHA requires a combination of adequate product design standards, safe work practices, personal protective equipment (PPE), and employee training to satisfy the health and safety requirements for various types of equipment.

Product Design Standards: OSHA requires certain types of equipment to satisfy minimum design standards. Employers are responsible for ensuring equipment is adequate for the designated job, and that the equipment meets ANSI standards where required. Establishing product design standards ensures that the equipment being used at the facility is laboratory tested and safe for workers to use.

Safe Work Practices: OSHA requires specific types of equipment to be used in a manner that reduces risk of injury to workers. As such, OSHA expressly prohibits certain acts when using the machinery, such as welding near flammable material or driving a forklift at excessive speeds. OSHA also requires employers to establish safe work practices, including replacing worn out equipment and properly storing the machinery to reduce workplace hazards.

PPE: OSHA requires the use of PPE such as gloves, hats, and eye-protection when operating certain types of work equipment or working with various hazardous materials. The PPE standards vary depending on the nature of the work performed and the equipment being used to perform the task.

Training: Generally, OSHA requires employees to be trained in proper equipment operation. OSHA training requirements ensure that employees understand the risks and health hazards presented by the use of dangerous equipment in the workplace. Employers must also document these trainings and provide refresher training whenever the equipment changes or an employee is found using the equipment improperly.

Importance of implementing an active regulatory watch on work equipment regulations

As new machine models and technology continuously become available to employers, OSHA recognizes that some of its equipment standards are outdated. OSHA indicates that it intends to revise the equipment requirements in light of information that reflects latest machine technology.
It is important to remain current on any amended work equipment standards that apply to your facility to avoid liability under OSHA’s regulations.

In addition, if your facility is located in one of the 28 OSHA-designated states, it may be subject to state work equipment requirements that are stricter than the OSHA federal standards.

Learn more about work equipment

Forklifts article #68
Cranes and Slings article #67
Welding article #69
PPE article #54


What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a federal agency under the U.S. Department of Labor that imposes health and safety standards on employers to protect workers from occupational hazards. OSHA enforces the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act), which contains regulations that promote safe conditions in the workplace.

What is PPE?

PPE, or personal protective equipment, is equipment worn to minimize exposure to serious workplace injuries and illnesses. OSHA requires employers to provide PPE where engineering, work practice, or administrative controls are insufficient to protect workers from physical, electrical, heat, chemical, biohazard, and airborne particulate matter hazards. PPE includes items such as gloves, safety glasses and shoes, earplugs or muffs, hard hats, respirators, or coveralls, vests and full body suits.

What is ANSI?

Some types of work equipment must comply with the standards developed by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) to ensure safe product design. ANSI is a private non-profit organization that develops consensus standards for products, services, processes, systems, and personnel.

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