History of Occupational Health and Safety
Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has been a topic of concern since the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire of 1911. The Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire occurred on March 25, 1911 in New York City (Stein, 1962, Von Drehle, 2003). 1911 employers’ attitude toward employees was that of harshness. The employers would lock the employees inside the building to ensure that they would work and not wonder off. Employers locked doors. The fire occurred on the ninth and tenth floor of the building. Because the doors were locked, 146 garment workers, mostly women, were killed (Goff, personal communication, September 14, 2010). The fire was an event that helped to spearhead the necessity for a governmental intervention The owners of the companies were taken to court and tried for manslaughter, however, they would be acquitted in 1914, (Stein, 1962, Von Drehle, 2003). “The first successful workmen’s’ compensation act in the US was passed in Wisconsin in 1911” (2010) this would create a common theme with other states following suit thereafter. Canada would also establish a workmen’s’ compensation act in 1914, it rendered employers responsible for on the job injuries and deaths (2010). This would create a shift in power employers who didn’t have to be accountable for problems that occurred in the work place, (Woodward, personal communication, September 23, 2010). Governmental interventions like this would become OHS and eventually the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), (Fleming, p. 1). OSHA was established as a result of the Occupational Health and Safety Act of 1970. The 1960’s was an unstable time in American history (Fleming, p. 1). Occupational injuries were increasing in number and severity. There were 14,000 workers dying each year because of on the job injuries. This lead to a public outcry; which prompted the signing of the Act on December 29, 1970 by President Richard Nixon, (Fleming, p. 24). The Act established three different divisions, which included: OSHA, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Committee (OSHRC), (Fleming p. 24): Employment in Occupational Health and Safety
Employment in OHS consists of many different titles. John Gargiulo, (personal communication, September 21, 2010) gave examples of jobs in OHS such as Industrial Health and Safety, Environmental Health and Safety, Industrial Hygiene etc. He indicated that authentic circumstances on the job are situations such as assessing regulations, quantifying risk, developing plans, implement and management of programs and assessing return on investments made. Gargiulo indicated that a bachelors of science is a minimum and advanced degrees are most desirable. A person looking for a career in OHS would be better prepared if they went on to get a Masters Degree, and that person should prepare for the advanced degree program while getting their bachelors degree. Certifications, continuing education, examinations and experience are also needed. He also pointed out that in some cases, like for Industrial Hygiene require more of the “hard sciences”. Potential employers include NASA, Disney and Community Colleges, (Gargiulo, personal communication, September 21, 2010). Gargiulo indicated that some of the responsibilities required may be management of high profile disease, radiation exposure, hazardous materials, and indoor air quality and construction safety. Because of the high level of requirements he emphasized that the individual must be very well trained in their particular concentration in order to carry out the duties required of them. Occupational Health and Safety Law
OHS consists of many laws. These laws differ slightly from state to state. Some states, such as California, have state laws that are more stringent than the Federal laws imposed, (Woodward, personal communication, September 23, 2010). One...
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Fleming, S., (2001). OSHA at 30: Three Decades of Progress in Occupational Safety and Health.
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Stein, S.L, (1962)The Triangle Fire (1962)
Von Drehle, D., (2003) Triangle: The Fire That Changed America
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