CSM logo - horizontal

Employee safety

All businesses have a federally-mandated requirement to keep their employees safe from workplace hazards. This mandate is called the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and it is enforced by the United States Department of Labor, through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). While standards may vary between states and business types, all employers must comply with the General Duty Clause of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which requires that all businesses furnish a workplace that is “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [its] employees.”

Although this clause sounds like common sense, total workplace safety can be challenging to achieve in high-risk occupations, such as forestry and agricultural work. These industries have ranked among some of the most dangerous places to work in America due to the routine operation of heavy machinery and unpredictable circumstances, such as inclement weather.

Despite these challenges, employers have a duty to maintain workplace health and safety, and to keep their employees as safe as possible from known hazards. Following the OSHA standards for your state and business type is a key part of this process.

Variation in safety standards

There is some variation in the application of OSHA standards, both between states and industries.

States have different levels of coverage under OSHA. There are three tiers to OSHA coverage in the U.S.:

  • A state may operate its own OSHA-approved State Plan, which covers both private-sector workers and state/local government workers.
  • A State Plan may also be limited in scope, and only apply to state/local government workers. Private sector workers are covered under “federal OSHA,” or the general nationwide OSHA standards.
  • A state may choose not to have an OSHA-approved State Plan and instead fall under federal jurisdiction. This means that federal OSHA covers most private sector workers but not state and local government workers. However, state government departments typically cover these employees.

The U.S. Department of Labor monitors its OSHA-approved State Plans every year and reports on current performance. They also follow up on unresolved items and issues from the previous year. States with OSHA-approved State Plans work closely with OSHA to ensure workplace safety compliance.

In Oklahoma, the state Department of Labor operates its own Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health (PEOSH) Division, which oversees employee safety for public sector workers. Federal OSHA covers workers in the private sector.

There are also differences in federal OSHA standards between industries. In other words, if a state chooses to follow the federal OSHA standards, it must also ensure that it uses the correct set of standards for its industry. These specialized industries include standards for maritime, construction, and agriculture workers. Because of the highly specialized nature of these industries, there are specific safety standards for each one.

Federal OSHA standards also include “general industry” standards, which apply to all industries. These standards include, but are not limited to:

  • emergency exit plans
  • fire safety
  • noise exposure
  • hazardous waste disposal
  • electrical safety
  • medical services and first aid

Standards regarding these areas are mandatory to help ensure employee safety. For example, all employers must have fire prevention plans containing specific elements, such as lists of all flammable materials.

Plans and coverage between states can vary. This is why accessing the educational and training materials from OSHA can be particularly helpful. Remember that all safety standards are in place for a reason, especially industry-specific ones. These standards were designed with specific people and workplaces in mind, making them especially valuable. While compliance can sometimes be challenging, it is essential to ensure employee safety in the workplace.

Safety Library

Get the guides, tips, and more created by our Safety Team to make your business safer.

Workers’ compensation coverage

Even in the safest workplaces, accidents do happen. This is why it is essential for all employers, regardless of state or sector, to invest in a workers’ compensation policy. Also known as “workers’ comp” or “workmans’ comp,” a workers’ compensation insurance plan is a risk-management tool that provides compensation to employees in the event of illnesses, injuries, or workplace fatalities.

Workers’ compensation benefits may include:

  • Medical treatment
  • Missed wages
  • Recovery or rehab
  • Funeral expenses

Workers’ compensation is typically a “no-fault” type of insurance, meaning that it goes into effect regardless of whether the employer or the employee was found to be at fault for the injury. As long as the incident occurs at the workplace, work travel during work hours, or is directly due to workplace hazards (such as exposure to hazardous chemicals), the employee should receive workers’ comp payments.

Workers’ compensation aids the injured employee during the healing process and provides stability and safety for the employer. Paying into an insurance plan is a well-known business risk-management strategy because it can help to prevent surprise bills or costs arising from workplace accidents. An employer may also wish to invest in liability insurance, which may protect the company from lawsuits, even from non-employees.

Why choose CompSource Mutual

CompSource Mutual has long been a trusted provider for workers’ compensation in Oklahoma. In Oklahoma, employers are required to provide workers’ compensation coverage for their employees, regardless of sector or industry. (There are some exceptions, such as the agricultural industry.)

CompSource Mutual can also help employers navigate the complex system of workplace safety standards. We provide a variety of educational safety and training resources, as well as audit support, claims processing, and fraud investigation.

Ready to get protected? Our Oklahoma-based team has the expertise to offer you coverage that makes sense for your business’s unique risks. Get a quote

What is Workers' Comp

Learn more about CompSource Mutual, proudly provided workers’ compensation insurance coverage to Oklahoma businesses for more than 85 years.Discover why it’s important for businesses to obtain workers’ comp to protect workers in the case of a work-related injury or illness.

Workmans’ comp is another way of saying “workers’ compensation,” which is a type of insurance that protects and provides support to employees after they have suffered a workplace illness or injury, and to employees’ families in an event of a workplace fatality. Many states require that employers carry workmans’ comp for their employees.

Having a safe and healthy workplace protects employees from injuries and illnesses. It can also help reduce turnover, increase job security and productivity, and improve employee morale. Safer workplace practices can also help to reduce costs for employers.

This depends on what state you live in, as well as which sector you work in (private sector or public sector). Visit your state’s Department of Labor website to find out: https://www.osha.gov/stateplans/

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua.


Request a Quote

Protect your business with first-rate coverage. Enter your zip code below to get your customized quote.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.