OSHA: Standards

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OSHA: Standards

OSHA standards are "rules that describe the methods employers are legally required to follow to protect their workers from hazards." OSHA provides a set of standards that applies to all industries; it outlines general required safety measures, including locating exit routes, planning emergency evacuations, and handling hazardous materials. OSHA further provides standards for specific workplace environments.
In clinical laboratories, OSHA outlines standards for protective gear, hazardous chemical handling, energy handling, specimen handling, and more. OSHA standards for protective gear stipulate that employers must provide personal protective equipment (PPE) for the eyes (e.g. safety glasses), face, head, and extremities, protective clothing (e.g. protective laboratory coats), respiratory devices, and protective shields and barriers. For chemical, energy, and specimen handling, OSHA requires that specific safety measures are in place to protect the health of the handler, such as a:
  • Chemical Hygiene Plan (CHP), which outlines responses to chemical exposure
  • Lock-Out, Tag-Out (LOTO) system, which outlines how to properly lock and tag electrical equipment when electrical maintenance is performed
  • Exposure Control Plan (ECP), which outlines responses to bloodborne pathogen exposure