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A Guide to Understanding OSHA

April 5, 2012

OSHA is an acronym for the United States government agency known as the Occupational Safety And Health Administration and it is a part of the United States Department of Labor. It is currently headed by Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels.

OSHA’s mission statement:

“Assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance”



OSHA was passed in Congress and signed into law in December 29, 1970 by President Nixon; it became effective in April 28 1971 and was headed by George Guether, the agencies first director. OSHA was created to enforce safety and health statutes and regulations in the workplace, therefore reducing work related accidents that occur on job, as well as to establish a personal disability fund for the worker who developed serious work related conditions later on in life. Many times, before OSHA was created, chronic work related injuries that didn’t present themselves until later on in a persons life, could not be considered truly connected in legal terms to the former employer or workplace.

OSHA was also created to help those in the workplace who are subjugated to employers who are being unethical in their business practices, when an individual publicly denounces and exposes these employers, they are referred to as whistle blowers.Whistle blowers are an important part of OSHA, in fact OSHA is responsible to enforce the 21 statutes called the Whistleblower Provisions. OSHA has become responsible to enforce and regulate all Whistle blower Provisions, meaning it no longer matters whether the accused parties violations fall under occupational safety and health matters, OSHA is still liable to investigate.

OSHA was created for those men and women who work in an industry that can potentially be hazardous to ones health or safety while on the job. At the time of its creation, OSHA’s creation seemed necessary to offset the bottom line focus of big businesses who seemed to care more about profits than about the people that created their goods or services. As instances where employers humanity seemed to take a backseat to strictly numeric focused thinking, the need for OSHA became imminent. Until its creation, being injured in the workplace was not a priority that many companies felt obligated to compensate for or worry about. This ambivalence led to the creation of OSHA, it was put into place for those workers who need the governing laws on their side. OSHA is an incredible victory for the labor movement and is designed to protect workers through fines given to companies who do not keep their facilities up to regulation.

How OSHA Enforces and Regulates

OSHA enforces standards by sending its Compliance Safety and Health Officers to asses the work place, and to cite and fine  companies for regulatory violations they find on sight. You can find Jobsite Safety Products that meet OSHA standards at Toolup.com. OSHA must focus on the worksites that are considered to be hazardous industries as well as inspect workplaces that are called in by whistleblowers. On the OSHA homepage OSHA lays out the five target areas:

Inspection Priorities:

▪                Imminent danger

▪                Catastrophes

▪                Worker complaints and referrals

▪                Targeted inspections – high injury/illness rates, severe violators

▪                Follow-up inspections





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