OSHA General Duty of Care

Every mission-driven organization wants to keep its staff safe. After all, making sure your employees are well looked after is central to both living your organizational values and delivering on your mission. It is also, of course, a legal requirement too.

The OSHA general duty clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, requires every employer to provide a workplace free from recognized hazards that may cause death or serious injury, for all employees. The main purpose of this clause is to make sure that every employer is providing a safe workplace.

This general duty clause is important because if OSHA were to have an informal or formal complaint made against your organization, an OSHA investigator would be sent out in order to collect all of the details. If found that your organization was at fault, your organization could face high fines. Additionally, if leadership was involved, they could be charged with gross negligence.

Therefore, it is important that every employer is providing a workplace free of hazards not only to keep staff safe, but also to protect the organization as a whole. If your organization is still in the process of building a Safety and Wellness Program, our Workers’ Compensation Toolkit contains many resources to help you begin that process.

Note: With the current pandemic, COVID-19 is a hazard that every workplace is having to face. Therefore, it is important that your organization is regularly checking the CDC Business and Employer Guidance as well as The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health’s COVID-19 Information for the Workplace for updated best practices and safety protocols.