In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established by the Department of Labor. Its mission is to:
"Ensure 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 established in response to the alarming statistics regarding lost productivity, wages, medical expenses, and disability compensation. Those numbers included:
- 14,000 worker deaths caused by job-related accidents
- 2 ½ million disabled workers
- 300,000 new cases of occupational diseases
Worker fatalities have decreased by over 50% since OSHA was established. Additionally, there have been significant reductions in work-related injuries and illnesses.
OSHA regulates and enforces federal laws covering many workplace activities. It also determines the standards that apply to every workplace, then sets the requirements to be followed.
Broad areas of workplace standards include:
- General Industry
Specific examples of OSHA's involvement include standards for personal protective equipment (PPA) like safety glasses and hard hats. They also offer hearing safety, heat safety, and fall prevention information.
OSHA covers all United States employees and employers under Federal government authority directly or through state programs. Self-employed and members of farm families are not included.
OSHA.gov provides information on training, state programs, small businesses, and construction. It also offers resources to help both employees and employers. Those resources include information on:
- Safety and Health Topics
- Training Requirements
- Frequently Cited Standards
- Compliance Directives
- Standard Interpretations
Also, the site offers information on current and long-term regulatory agendas and federal notices.
"Workplace fatalities have dramatically reduced, and the worker injury rate has also decreased significantly."
Even with all the improvements to workplace safety, OSHA remains committed to worker safety and health because
"It's every worker's right."