Workplace facilities are regulated principally by standards established under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The federal scheme permits individual states to devise and enforce their own laws and regulations, but only with federal approval, and only if the applicable state plan requirements are as stringent as the corresponding federal standards. While some states have obtained authority from the federal government to operate their own occupational health and safety programs, Georgia is not among them. This means that Georgia is only permitted to enforce standards for facilities in areas not taken over by the federal government. The surviving state requirements are summarized below. There are detailed discussions of the federal standards.
Employer's "general duty." Like many states, Georgia has a "general duty" provision requiring employers to provide a workplace that is as safe as the nature of the employment will reasonably permit. Georgia law requires employers to do everything reasonably necessary to protect the lives, safety, and health of their workers. The law directs employers to furnish employees with a workplace that is reasonably safe and that utilizes devices, equipment, and methods that are adequate to ensure safety. The employer is also responsible for maintaining the place of employment in such a way that safety is reasonably assured. Penalties for violations range from a fine ($20 to $200) to 6 months' imprisonment (GA Code Ann., Sec. 34-2-10).