What Is the Occupational Safety and Health Act?

In 1970, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) was passed with the purpose of assuring “safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women.” The requirements and standards set forth in the OSH Act cover the majority of private-sector employers as well as their employees. The goal of the OSH Act was to help ensure that employers continue to prove their employees with a safe and healthy work environment. The Act itself sets forth this goal as well as establishing how that goal will be achieved.

What Is Included in the Occupational Safety and Health Act?

In passing the OSH Act, Congress hoped to see workers across the U.S. have workplaces that are free from known safety and health hazards. This meant workers are protected from:

  • Toxic chemical exposure
  • Excessive noise levels
  • Stress due to heat or cold
  • Unsanitary conditions
  • Mechanical dangers

In order to establish and enforce standards that would work to ensure safe work conditions for employees, the OSHA Act created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), as well as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

A division of the U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA is tasked with overseeing the administration of the OSH Act as well as enforcing workplace safety standards in every state. The OSH Act designated OSHA with two regulatory functions. The first of which is that OSHA is tasked with setting workplace health and safety standards. The second function of OSHA is to conduct regular inspections of workplaces. These inspections are to see that employers are adopting workplace practices that are reasonably necessary to protect worker health and safety in the workplace. This means that workplace practices should not just guard against serious hazards, but also potentially minor hazards. Workplace practices to ensure worker safety may include things such as:

  • Making sure employees are properly trained
  • Ensuring employees utilize proper personal protective equipment
  • Putting safety measures in place to minimize any potential exposure to toxic substances and other hazardous materials

Simply put, the OSH Act sets forth standards meant to help ensure worker safety and health in the workplace. The Act also establishes the means to see this accomplished. The main way the Act accomplishes its goals is through OSHA. OSHA is tasked with enforcing the Act and promulgating and enforcing standards that will further goals of the OSH Act.

New York City Employment Litigation Attorney

If you are working in or have worked in a job with a dangerous workplace, your employer is likely in violation of the OSH Act. Employees should not be in fear of their health and safety when they go to work. That is why the OSH Act was established in the first place. Talk to Attorney Thomas M. Lancia about your legal rights under the OSH Act. He is a skilled employment law attorney who will counsel you regarding your rights as an employee. Contact Thomas M. Lancia today.