Past, Present and Future
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA is a part of the US Department of Labor, and was started in 1970 as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by issuing and enforcing rules (called standards) for workplace safety and health. Since it's inception it has helped to cut the incidents of workplace fatalities by sixty percent, and occupational injury and illness rates by forty percent. This presentation will present what OSHA has accomplished in the past, present and what it hopes to accomplish in the future.
There are many reasons for the introduction of an organization like OSHA. In the 18th century workers, during the English Industrial revolution, People worked in the coal mines naked, because there was no governmental regulation. At the onset of the Industrial revolution in America there wasn't much in the way of protecting it's workforce either, from abuse by their employers. Unsafe working conditions and child labor was prevalent in industry. In 1884 the first agency designed to address labor issues was called the Bureau of Labor. At this time it was a part of the Department of the
Interior, as there was no Department of Labor. The department of Labor was established as a cabinet level agency in 1913.
Some of the major changes to industrial safety since OSHA was established, are as follows. In 1970 they established the use of guards on all moving parts to prevent contact with moving machinery. Permissible exposure limits on air borne chemicals and dust particles. Also the emphasis on personal protective equipment in the work place. In the 1980's OSHA started the Lockout Tagout program where businesses are required to put locks and tags on equipment that is in the off or deenergized state, while maintenance or repair work is being performed. In 1990 they instituted the confined space program to cut down on the number of deaths and injuries due to workers entering manholes, pits, bins and other confined spaces. They also instituted the Hazard communication process, or "Right to know". This is a system of information readily available to workers on the chemicals used in the work place.
OSHA currently has 2,200 employees including 1,100 inspectors and a budget of over $468 Million. Trying to enforce the regulations under these circumstances would be a monumental task. OSHA is making great strides to become more proactive. Under the Bush Administration OSHA has developed a 3-pronged plan:
Strong, fair, and effective enforcement
Outreach, Education, and Compliance Assistance
Partnership and Cooperative Programs
Enforcement is the foundation of OSHA's effort to protect the health and safety of American workers. OSHAs mission is to have every American worker home, whole and healthy every day. Last year less than 1% of their inspectors were under the Enhanced Enforcement Program, which targets Employers who willfully and repeatedly violate the rules.
Outreach, Education and Assistance helps OSHA play a key role in prevention of worker injury and illness. OSHA maintains an extensive and informative web site including a section that focuses on small business, tools to help both workers and employers identify and address special
hazards, also to prevent illness. Last year alone, more than 50 Million people logged onto this web site. The agency provides publications in print and online to aid in training. OSHA also maintains a call center staffed during business hours and a 24-hour hotline for problems after hours. In order to help non - English speaking people OSHA provides material and help in regional offices in Spanish, Japanese, Polish and Korean.
OSHA has several Cooperative Programs. The Alliance Program focuses on Labor, Trade and Professional organizations as well as Business Educational and other Government...
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