The United States Congress enacted a law called the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which came into being on December 29, 1970. Under this law, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was established as an agency under the Department of Labor. OSHA is currently headed by Assistant Secretary of Labor.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a US labor law governing the federal law of occupational health and safety in the private sector and federal government in the United States.
Its main goal is to ensure that employers provide employees with an environment free from recognized hazards, such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).
The OSHA Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority.
OSHA’s mission is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. The agency is also charged with enforcing a variety of whistleblower statutes and regulations. OSHA’s workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and injury costs without adverse effects to employment, sales, credit ratings, or firm survival.
OSHA Training Programs
OSHA has a number of training, compliance assistance, and health and safety recognition programs. The OSHA Training Institute, which trains government and private sector health and safety personnel, began in 1972. In 1978, the agency began a grant making program, now called the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, to train workers and employers in reducing workplace hazards. OSHA started the Voluntary Protection Programs in 1982, which allow employers to apply as “model workplaces” to achieve special designation if they meet certain requirements.