Massachusetts Facilities: What you need to know

Workplace facilities are regulated principally by federal requirements or standards established under the federal Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act). The OSH Act governs much of the design, operation, and maintenance of workplace facilities, as these factors affect the safety of the workplace.
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The OSH Act is “preemptive,” overriding all state laws and regulations in the areas that it covers. The federal scheme permits individual states to devise and administer their own laws and regulations, but only with federal approval and only if the state requirements are as rigorous as the corresponding federal standards. Massachusetts has not adopted its own plan so the federal standards govern state work safety and health law in most areas of private employment.
The commonwealth has a number of separate laws governing specific workplace factors and specific industries. The attorney general is charged with compliance, and officers of the attorney general's office may enter a place of employment at any time, other than a private home employing domestic workers, in order to investigate workplace conditions.
Heat, light, ventilation. Every employer has to provide an adequately lighted, ventilated, heated, and sanitary workplace. Workrooms that are in use must be properly heated from October 15 to May 15. The standards for lighting prescribe specific minimum light intensities for specific kinds of work and work areas. Ventilation must render harmless, so far as practicable, all gases, vapors, dust, fumes, or impurities that are injurious to health. Fans or other mechanical means are to be used in order to reduce dust if necessary (MA Gen. Laws Ch. 149 Sec. 113 through Sec. 118).
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