What Is OSHA?

What is OSHA? What are OSHA requirements?

What is the History of OSHA

With on-the-job injuries and deaths on the rise, OSHA needed to step in to create rules and regulations to keep workers safe. In 1970 President Richard M. Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) to protect nearly 100 million Americans who go to work each day.

OSHA is a regulatory body tasked with ensuring safe and healthy working conditions for Americans “by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance.” OSHA regulations cover most private sector employees and all workers at the federal level.

The agency covered everything from the disposal of hazardous waste to what proper protective equipment should be worn when performing dangerous tasks and has been integral in reducing the number of workplace injuries and fatalities since its formation almost half a century ago.

What is the Mission of OSHA

Congress created OSHA to create safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by creating and enforcing standards. The organization provides training and guidelines for employers so that they create safer work environments for their employees.

"To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health..." OSHA of 1970

How Does OSHA Help Me?

OSHA has provided specifications for accident prevention and wants hazards either eliminated or identified for your safety. OSHA (1910.145) requires the need for safety signs to identify specific hazards that could harm workers or the public, or both, or that cause property damage.

For your protection, OSHA has created rules designed to maintain productivity while minimizing risk to the company’s most valuable assets: its workforce.

For your protection, OSHA requires employers to:
  • Provide a workplace free from recognized hazards while complying with the standards, rules, and regulations issued under the OSH Act of 1970.
  • Ensure employees possess safe tools and equipment, and that equipment is properly maintained.
  • Use of  OSHA labels OSHA signsOSHA tags, or other OSHA approved safety identification to warn employees of potential hazards.

  • Provide medical exams and training when required.
  • Provide safety training in a language and vocabulary that employees can understand.
  • As of January 1, 2015, notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality or within 24 hours of any work-related inpatient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye. (1-800-321-OSHA).
  • Provide all employees with required personal protective equipment (PPE).

  • Find and correct safety and health hazards.
  • Inform employees about chemical hazards, training, chemical information sheets and other methods.
  •  By encouraging joint labor-management efforts to reduce injuries and diseases in workplaces.

 (This list is an example of some of the requirements to employers, read the full list here: All about OSHA)

Each year, OSHA releases a list of its top 10 safety violations (read more or see sidebar on the middle right), which chronicles the most commonly seen infractions of the previous twelve months. Employers are well-served by studying the list and staying in compliance to avoid not only serious fines but potentially deadly injuries.

Complying with OSHA standards is critical in the workplace - not just for the protection of your employers - but to eliminate costly OSHA fines. Learn what the price for not complying with OSHA could cost you here.

Regardless of your profession, OSHA is committed to protecting you from hazards and ensuring you're provided with information and education to keep you safe in the workforce.

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More Information is an excellent resource to answer many of your OSHA related questions.


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