Federal OSHA has recently revised and re-published its “General Industry Digest” (Digest). OSHA 2201-08R 2015.

The Digest gives an overview of OSHA’s general industry standards to aid employers, supervisors, workers, and safety and health professionals in achieving compliance.

The Digest provides summaries of the “standards most frequently cited” and those standards “which cover particularly hazardous situations.” In 2014, OSHA’s most frequently cited standards were:

  1. 1926.501 Fall Protection (Construction)
  2. 1910.1200 Hazard Communication
  3. 1926.451 Scaffolding (Construction)
  4. 1910.134 Respiratory Protection
  5. 1910.178 Powered Industrial Trucks
  6. 1910.147 Lockout/Tagout
  7. 1926.1053 Ladders (Construction)
  8. 1910.305 Electrical, Wiring Methods
  9. 1910.212 Machine Guarding
  10. 1910.303 Electrical, General Requirements

OSHA continues to encourage employers to adopt an “injury and illness prevention program,” a “proactive process to help employers find and fix workplace hazards.” OSHA has not, however, adopted an IIPP standard. The Digest outlines recommendations and key elements for an IIPP program.

The Digest also includes a summary of “Hazardous Workplace Complaints: Worker Rights,” explaining that “workers may file a complaint to have OSHA inspect their workplace if they believe that their employer is not following OSHA standards or that there are serious hazards.” Appropriately, the Digest notes that “often the best and fastest way to get a hazard corrected is to notify a supervisor or employer.”

For businesses, this Digest can be read as the Agency’s perspective on compliance under these commonly cited standards. However, the Digest provides only a perfunctory summary of OSHA’s position on each standard. Agency interpretations and enforcement policy also can change over time. While the Digest may be a useful resource and instructive tool for safety personnel, it is an incomplete guide to compliance in your facility.