Not-So-Great Moments in Safety: OSHA Approved

OSHA Approved

Not-So-Great Moments In Safety

Jill James

Jill James

Chief Safety Officer

Jill James brings an unrivaled perspective on risk, regulation and liability. With 14 years of experience as a Senior OSHA Safety Investigator with the State of Minnesota, and nearly a decade in the private sector as a safety program manager, Jill is a passionate advocate for training ROI.

Take Ladder Safety On Us

What’s the hazard here? The hazard is misinformation. There is no such thing as “OSHA Approved.” Though this term of OSHA Approved is often thrown around regarding various types of tools and equipment and even training, it’s a false claim, an alternate fact. OSHA does not have an approval board or branch of the division to approve items. What you will see if you read fine-print or labels on equipment are terms such as, “Meets OSHA requirements” or “Built to OSHA specifications.” As for the term, Safety Ladder? If it’s built to the specifications in OSHA’s ladder regulation, isn’t damaged and being used for its intended purpose, then it’s a Safe Ladder. The stool in the photo isn’t a ladder at all.

How can this hazard be corrected? Certainly! We can stop using this term. The question to ask is, “Does this can gas, ladder, bench grinder, table saw, scaffold, training or...meet OSHA requirements?” 

Any laws around this? If you’d like to get a little technical, there is one place that comes close to this concept of approval, though OSHA doesn’t use that term. If you’ve ever heard of the OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 hour courses, you may know that the trainers or training companies who provide those courses online are Authorized by OSHA to provide that training. Authorized trainers, not approved trainers.

Conversation starters: In conversation with company leaders and persons with authority to make purchases in your company, inquire as to how they are seeking out tools, equipment or training that meets OSHA requirements. Often, safe guards are options or add-ons to equipment which affects the cost of the equipment. Ensure your organization has new and existing equipment and training meeting OSHA requirements.