On Safety

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Been to OSHA.gov recently?

February 12, 2014

During a recent House subcommittee hearing, a stakeholder and congressman raised concerns that employers may miss important information OSHA posts on its website.

Under questioning by Rep. John Kline (R-MN), attorney Bradford Hammock – representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – said some OSHA actions, such as letters of interpretation, are published on OSHA’s website with virtually no notice and they could alter agency policy.

Here’s the exchange:

Hammock: Unless you are a businessman out there who spends every day and gets on OSHA’s website and looks at the letters of interpretation, you’re not going to really know what OSHA’s saying or what things are coming out there that are going beyond the disclaimer on the letters of interpretation. It’s a very challenging thing for people who have got a lot of stuff to do during the day rather than just sit around and look at OSHA’s website.

Kline: Thank you. [Laughs] Sorry, I was trying to think how much time I spend sitting around looking at OSHA’s website, or anybody else’s. It’s not very much.

I visit OSHA’s website daily, looking up press releases, statistics or recent speeches. I’m clearly an extreme example – my job requires me to stay up to date on what OSHA and other agencies are working on, and a big part of that means scouring the web.

As Hammock suggested, some people (particularly those tasked with running a business) may not have the time to constantly check OSHA’s website for new letters of interpretation or guidance documents.

According to OSHA’s own statistics, the agency’s website saw more than 200 million visits in fiscal year 2012.

So, how much time do you spend on osha.gov? What do you use the website for, and do you find it useful? Let me know in the comments.

The opinions expressed in "On Safety" do not necessarily reflect those of the National Safety Council or affiliated local Chapters.

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