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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

The large number of responses to our first Practitioners’ Exchange question (see Sept 1, 1993 issue of the JAVMA) suggests that veterinarians are concerned about complying with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards, but that many veterinarians are uncertain how best to set up an OSHA compliance program in their own hospitals. With this issue, we present the first in a series of articles dealing with OSHA regulations and giving practical ways for veterinarians to comply with the OSHA standards. In future articles, the author will discuss some of the common hazards in veterinary hospitals, implementation of a hazard communication plan, and development of a hospital emergency action plan.

While reading these articles, remember that, although they represent the best information available at the time they were written, they cannot be considered definitive. Regulations are subject to change, and, in the end, only personnel from OSHA can tell you exactly how to comply with the OSHA guidelines. However, we believe that by following the suggestions in this and future articles, veterinarians will be able to create a hospital safety program that will substantially comply with OSHA guidelines and that will ensure a safe workplace for themselves and their employees.— Kurt J. Matushek, Assistant Editor.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was developed to ensure that every American has a safe and healthy work environment. An important component of OSHA's mission is to develop and promulgate minimum standards for workplace safety, and we recently published, JAVMA fan 15, 1994 through Mar 1, 1994, a series of articles giving practical suggestions for complying with current OSHA standards. However, an equally important part of OSHA's mission is inspection of American workplaces to determine whether those workplaces are complying with safety standards. Few veterinarians know what to expect during an OSHA inspection, nor understand what their rights and responsibilities are. In this article, Ms. Richard, an attorney who specializes in management labor and employment law, outlines what to expect and what to do if your practice is inspected by the OSHA.

Please remember that the information in this article is based on the author's best interpretation of current law. However, the law can change, and the accuracy of any interpretation of the law can be challenged by the OSHA. Therefore, information in this article is intended to be only a guideline and is not intended to be, nor should it be construed as, legal advice. Veterinarians are advised to consult with their own attorneys for advice on specific matters. Finally, this information is based on current federal OSHA guidelines. Veterinary practices located in one of the 25 states and territories with OSHA-approved state plans may have to comply with slightly different guidelines.—Kurt J. Matushek, Assistant Editor.

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in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association