The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
PSEO Political Science
By James Burns
PSEO Political Science
March 15th, 2013
This research paper will begin with an introduction to familiarize the reader with general information about OSHA, and its current scope of power. I will be analyzing the social and political conditions surrounding OSHA's founding, as well as the reasoning behind the creation of the program. Once the basis for the program has been established, I will go on to explaining the agency's changes in its goals and operations throughout its existence, making sure to include court and presidential influence. I will then, based upon my research, argue for and against OSHA's current existence as a federal program, and choose, in my opinion, the most logical solution for the future of OSHA. My conclusions will reiterate my research findings on the program's present state through statistics and facts, and further inform the reader of the modern relevancy and activity of OSHA. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration is a Federal Regulatory commission, with many state partners, that had a budget of 583 billion USD in the fiscal year 2012. According to the agency's website, “With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) 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.”(About OSHA Page) Their mission, as a subsidiary of the US Department of Labor, is to enforce state and federal guidelines for workplace safety enacted by Congress (and respective state legislative houses) where applicable, on the private sector, and on government corporations, examples being the United States Postal Service, and Amtrak, where the safety of employees is at risk.(OSHA Workers Information Page) The Social and Political climate of the late 60s is one of the reasons that OSHA exists today. It was a period where change was popular, and “a number of high-profile disasters coupled with a growing environmental movement brought workplace injuries and illnesses into the national spotlight and put pressure on the federal government to take action.”(Riley, 3)There was no standard for the quality of working conditions in the states before the OSH act, the was a bipartisan bill that was signed by Nixon just two days before Christmas in 1970 to create OSHA.(About OSHA Page) The most formidable of reasons why OSHA was created was the sheer amount of deaths and injuries caused by unsafe workplaces. An estimated 14,000 Americans died every year from workplace related injuries and illnesses in the late 60s. These deaths affected thousands of families in the united states, and many of those families pressured congress to pass legislation to combat this injustice. (MacLaury, 3) OSHA was created in 1971 by the OSH act, originally promoted by the large workers unions of the time, including the Oil, Chemical, and Atomic Workers Union.(Riley, 3) According to the agency's website,“The Occupational Safety and Health Act, also known as the OSH Act, was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. The law requires employers to provide their employees with working conditions that are free of known dangers. The Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training and assistance to workers and employers.”(About OSHA Page) OSHA's current mission is to protect American workers from “Preventable Tragedies”. In the words of Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, "Every day in America, 13 people go to work and never come home. Every year in America, nearly 4 million people suffer a workplace injury from which some may never recover. These are preventable tragedies that disable...
Cited: "About OSHA Page." About OSHA Page. Occupational Health and Safety Organization. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.
MacLaury, Judson. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration: A History of Its First Thirteen Years: 1971-1984. Print.
"OSHA: Expanding Role in the Workplace." Facilitiesnet. Apr. 2011. Web. 14 Mar. 2013.
"OSHA Workers Information Page." Osha.gov. Occupational Health and Safety Organization. Web. 04 Mar. 2013.
Riley, Kevin, and Lauren D. Applebaum. "OSHA at 40: Looking Back, Looking Ahead."UCLA Research and Policy Brief (2011). Print.
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