OSHA Basics: The OSHA Field Operations Manual

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If you’re new to occupational safety and health, and/or new to OSHA, even the most basic things can be unfamiliar or confusing.

And that’s why we’ve created our OSHA Basics blog series–to help you get a foothold on some of these important topics.

In this article, we’re going to introduce to you the OSHA Field Operations Manual.

We’ve got a list of other OSHA Basics articles on different topics at the bottom of this article for you as well. Plus, because OSHA Inspectors use the Field Operations Manual during OSHA Workplace Inspections, we’ve included a free GUIDE TO OSHA INSPECTIONS for you at the bottom of this article.

Introduction to The OSHA Field Operations Manual

So what is the Field Operations Manual?

Here’s how OSHA explains its purpose:

To provide OSHA offices, State Plan programs and federal agencies with policy and procedures concerning the enforcement of occupational safety and health standards. Also, this instruction provides current information and ensures occupational safety and health standards are enforced with uniformity.

What does that mean? It means the Field Operations Manual is intended to give guidance to OSHA inspectors (and/or other OSHA personnel) on how to enforce OSHA’s occupational safety and health regulations in workplaces, including (but not limited to) how to create citations for violations.

The Field Operations Manual is sometimes referred to as the FMO because, you know, things have to have an acronym. 🙂

What Does the OSHA Field Operations Manual Cover?

It covers a lot, but here are some highlight that will probably catch your attention if you’re a safety manager under OSHA’s jurisdiction:

  • Chapter 3, Inspection Procedures
  • Chapter 4, Violations
  • Chapter 6, Penalties and Debt Collection
  • Chapter 7, Post-Citation Procedures and Abatement
  • Chapter 11, Imminent Danger, Fatality, Catastrophe, and Emergency Response

Who Is the Intended Audience (Reader) of the OSHA Field Operations Manual?

Well, the obvious answer here is that the OSHA Field Operations Manual was written for OSHA field personnel. After all, it’s a guide that tells OSHA personnel specifically how to apply OSHA regulations.

But if you’re responsible for occupational safety and health at your organization, you’d be missing a great opportunity to learn more and be better prepared if you didn’t realize how valuable the OSHA Field Operations Manual can be to you, too. Want to know exactly how something might be enforced? There’s a good chance it’s in there! Want to know exactly what will happen during an OSHA inspection? It’s it’s there.

In short, you might want to take that fascinating sci-fi novel off your bedside table, replace it with the OSHA Field Operations Manual, and get ready for some scintillating occupational safety and health reading before bedtime!

Conclusion: The OSHA Field Operations Manual

Hope you found this helpful, and we hope you enjoy reading (or at least skimming) the OSHA Field Operations Manual soon. If you’d like to study more from the other side of the coin, check out our Guide to OSHA Inspections.

You might also want to check out some of our other OSHA Basics articles (below):

Let us know if you’ve got a topic you’d like us to explore in our OSHA Basics series. The comments section below awaits you.

And before you leave, download our FREE GUIDE TO OSHA INSPECTIONS, below.


Free Download–Guide to OSHA Inspections

Download this free guide to OSHA workplace inspections.

Download Free Guide


Jeff Dalto, Senior Learning & Performance Improvement Manager
Jeff is a learning designer and performance improvement specialist with more than 20 years in learning and development, 15+ of which have been spent working in manufacturing, industrial, and architecture, engineering & construction training. Jeff has worked side-by-side with more than 50 companies as they implemented online training. Jeff is an advocate for using evidence-based training practices and is currently completing a Masters degree in Organizational Performance and Workplace Learning from Boise State University. He writes the Vector Solutions | Convergence Training blog and invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.

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