The Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Topics: Occupational safety and health, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Employment Pages: 6 (1982 words) Published: May 1, 2008
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

Over the history of time, there have always been work related issues between employers and employees. Even after President Lincoln’s abolishment of slavery and the passing of legislation dealing with the Equal Rights and discrimination, work related issues dealing with health and safety have been developed and questioned by the Government. As technology increases, more jobs become available and create larger work forces, which increases the probability of arising occupational health and safety issues. In response to the growing demand for such assistance, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was formed. Created by “Congress under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, signed by President Richard M. Nixon, on December 29, 1970, its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths by issuing and enforcing rules (called standards) for workplace safety and health.” ( The creation of this Administration had created standards and requirements for all industries in the United States and has been in effect since April 28, 1971.

The history of safety legislation dates back to the Progressive period of the United States. “In 1893, Congress passed the Safety Appliance Act, the first federal statute to require safety equipment in the workplace (the law applied only to railroad equipment, however).[4] In 1910, in response to a series of highly-publicized and deadly mine explosions and collapses, Congress established the federal Bureau of Mines to conduct research into mine safety (although the Bureau had no authority to regulate mine safety).[6] Backed by trade unions, many states also enacted workers' compensation laws which discouraged employers from permitting unsafe workplaces.[5] These laws, as well as the growing power of labor unions and public anger toward poor workplace safety, led to significant reductions in worker accidents for a time.”

After time, due to the exploding immigrant population and the growing technology and work force, the industrial production of the United States steadily grew. As the country became included in World War two, industrial production soared, creating more jobs, as well as more possibilities for accidents. “Winning the war took precedence over safety, and most labor unions were more concerned with maintaining wages in the face of severe inflation than with workplace health and safety. After the war ended, however, workplace accident rates remained high and began to rise.” ( Furthermore, the chemical revolution of the world created both new and increased health defects to those with jobs involving new dangerous compounds.

Because the safety hazards of the new chemicals were unrecognized, both employers and employees were ignorant to their possible effects from contact, resulting in prolonged exposure. Although “a few states, such as California and New York, had enacted workplace safety as well as workplace health legislation, most states had not changed their workplace protection laws since the turn of the century,” ( leaving the majority of workers unprotected in many aspects. This lead to President Lyndon Johnson attempting to create a bill that provided the development of occupational safety standards. The proposed bill then bounced back and forth between the democratic and republican parties, where inclusions by both parties modified the effects of the act. Although unsuccessful, this provided guidelines for President Richard Nixon to sign the Occupational Safety and Health act on December of 1970, “which gave the Federal Government the authority to set and enforce safety and health standards for most of the country's workers.” (

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration serves two primary functions: “setting standards and conducting workplace inspections to ensure that employers are complying with the standards and...
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