Occupational Safety and Health Administration
1 History 2 OSHA coverage
2.1 Private sector employers 2.2 State and local governments 2.3 Federal government agencies 2.4 Not covered under the OSHA Act
3 Rights and responsibilities under OSHA law
4 Health and safety standards
6 Record keeping requirements
History OSHA officially formed on April 28, 1971, the date that the OSH Act became effective. George Guenther was appointed as the agency's first director. OSHA has a number of training, compliance assistance, and health and safety recognition programs throughout its history. The OSHA Training Institute, which trains government and private sector health and safety personnel, began in 1972. In 1978, the agency began a grantmaking program, now called the Susan Harwood Training Grant Program, to train workers and employers in reducing workplace hazards. OSHA started the Voluntary Protection Programs in 1982, which allow employers to apply as "model workplaces" to achieve special designation if they meet certain requirements. OSHA coverage The OSHA Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Private sector employers OSHA covers most private sector employers in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions—either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA approved state plan. State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states instead of federal OSHA. Federal OSHA approves and monitors all state plans and provides as much as fifty percent of the funding for each program. State-run safety and health programs are required to be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program. The following 22 states or territories have OSHA-approved state programs: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. Federal OSHA provides coverage to certain workplaces specifically excluded from a state’s plan — for example, work in maritime industries or on military bases. State and local governments Workers at state and local government agencies are not covered by federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in those states that have an OSHA-approved state program. OSHA rules also permit states and territories to develop plans that cover only public sector (state and local government) workers. In these cases, private sector workers and employers remain under federal OSHA jurisdiction. Five additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved state plans that cover public sector workers only: Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Federal government agencies OSHA’s protection applies to all federal agencies. Section 19 of the OSH Act makes federal agency heads responsible for providing safe and healthful working conditions for their workers. OSHA conducts inspections of federal facilities in response to workers’ reports of hazards and under programs that target high hazard federal workplaces. Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meets the same standards as private employers. OSHA issues “virtual fines” to federal agencies – following an inspection where violations are found, OSHA issues a press release stating the size the fine would be if the federal agency were a private sector employer. Under a 1998 amendment, the OSHA Act covers the U.S. Postal Service the same as any private sector employer. Not covered under the OSHA Act The self-employed; immediate family members of farm employers; and workplace hazards regulated by another federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Department of Energy, or Coast Guard). Rights and responsibilities under OSHA law Employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace. By law, employers must provide their workers with a workplace that does not have serious hazards and must follow all OSHA safety and health standards. Employers must find and correct safety and health problems. OSHA further requires that employers must first try to eliminate or reduce hazards by making feasible changes in working conditions rather than relying on personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves, or earplugs. Switching to safer chemicals, enclosing processes to trap harmful fumes, or using ventilation systems to clean the air are examples of effective ways to eliminate or reduce risks. Employers must also:
Inform workers about chemical hazards through training, labels, alarms, color-coded systems, chemical information sheets and other methods. Provide safety training to workers in a language and vocabulary they can understand. Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses. Perform tests in the workplace, such as air sampling, required by some OSHA standards. Provide required personal protective equipment at no cost to workers. (Employers must pay for most types of required personal protective equipment.) Provide hearing exams or other medical tests when required by OSHA standards. Post OSHA citations and annually post injury and illness summary data where workers can see them. Notify OSHA within eight hours of a workplace fatality. Notify OSHA within 24 hours of all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all losses of an eye (1-800-321-OSHA ). Prominently display the official OSHA Job Safety and Health – It’s the Law poster that describes rights and responsibilities under the OSH Act. Not retaliate or discriminate against workers for using their rights under the law, including their right to report a work-related injury or illness.
Workers have the right to:
Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm.
Temporary workers must be treated like permanent employees. Staffing
agencies and host employers share a joint accountability over
temporary workers. Both entities are therefore bound to comply with
workplace health and safety requirements and to ensure worker safety
and health. OSHA could hold both the host and temporary employers
responsible for the violation of any condition.
Health and safety standards
Occupational Safety and Health Act
2002: Exit Routes, Emergency Action Plans, and Fire Prevention Plans 2004: Commercial Diving Operations 2004: Fire Protection in Shipyards 2006: Occupational Exposure to Hexavalent Chromium 2006: Assigned Protection Factors for Respiratory Protection Equipment 2007: Electrical Installation Standard 2007: Personal Protective Equipment Payment (Clarification) 2008: Vertical Tandem Lifts 2010: Cranes and Derricks in Construction 2010: General Working Conditions in Shipyards 2012: GHS Update to the Hazard Communication Standard 2014: New Recordkeeping and Reporting Requirements for Employers 2014: Revision to Electric Power Generation, Transmission, and Distribution; Electrical Protective Equipment 2016: Occupational Exposure to Respirable Crystalline Silica 2016: Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses 2016: Update General Industry Walking-Working Surfaces and Fall Protection Standards 
OSHA is responsible for enforcing its standards on regulated entities.
Compliance Safety and Health Officers carry out inspections and assess
fines for regulatory violations. Inspections are planned for worksites
in particularly hazardous industries. Inspections can also be
triggered by a workplace fatality, multiple hospitalizations, worker
complaints, or referrals.
OSHA is a small agency, given the size of its mission: with its state
partners, OSHA has approximately 2,400 inspectors covering more than 8
million workplaces where 130 million workers are employed. In Fiscal
Year 2012 (ending Sept. 30), OSHA and its state partners conducted
more than 83,000 inspections of workplaces across the United States
— just a fraction of the nation’s worksites. According to a
report by AFL–CIO, it would take OSHA 129 years to inspect all
workplaces under its jurisdiction.
Enforcement plays an important part in OSHA’s efforts to reduce
workplace injuries, illnesses, and fatalities. Inspections are
initiated without advance notice, conducted using on-site or telephone
and facsimile investigations, performed by trained compliance officers
and scheduled based on the following priorities [highest to lowest]:
imminent danger; catastrophes – fatalities or hospitalizations;
worker complaints and referrals; targeted inspections – particular
hazards, high injury rates; and follow-up inspections.
Current workers or their representatives may file a complaint and ask
OSHA to inspect their workplace if they believe that there is a
serious hazard or that their employer is not following OSHA standards.
Workers and their representatives have the right to ask for an
inspection without OSHA telling their employer who filed the
complaint. It is a violation of the OSH Act for an employer to fire,
demote, transfer or in any way discriminate against a worker for
filing a complaint or using other OSHA rights.
When an inspector finds violations of OSHA standards or serious
hazards, OSHA may issue citations and fines. A citation includes
methods an employer may use to fix a problem and the date by which the
corrective actions must be completed.
OSHA’s fines are very low compared with other government agencies.
They were raised for the first time since 1990 on Aug. 2, 2016 to
comply with the 2015 Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Act
Improvements Act passed by Congress to advance the effectiveness of
civil monetary penalties and to maintain their deterrent effect. The
new law directs agencies to adjust their penalties for inflation each
year. The maximum OSHA fine for a serious violation is $12,500 and the
maximum fine for a repeat or willful violation is $125,000. In
determining the amount of the proposed penalty, OSHA must take into
account the gravity of the alleged violation and the employer’s size
of the business, good faith and history of previous violations.
Employers have the right to contest any part of the citation,
including whether a violation actually exists. Workers only have
the right to challenge the deadline by which a problem must be
resolved. Appeals of citations are heard by the independent
Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC).
OSHA carries out its enforcement activities through its 10 regional
offices and 90 area offices. OSHA’s regional offices are located
in Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas,
Kansas City metropolitan area, Denver, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Record keeping requirements
Tracking and investigating workplace injuries and illnesses play an
important role in preventing future injuries and illnesses. Under
OSHA’s Recordkeeping regulation, certain covered employers in high
hazard industries are required to prepare and maintain records of
serious occupational injuries and illnesses. This information is
important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of
a workplace, understanding industry hazards, and implementing worker
protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.
Employers with more than ten employees and whose establishments are
not classified as a partially exempt industry must record serious
work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A and
301. Recordkeeping forms, requirements and exemption information are
at OSHA’s website.
Government of the United States portal
Title 29 of the Code of Federal Regulations
American Society of Safety Engineers
Construction site safety
Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association
Mine Safety and Health Administration
^ a b "FY 2015 Department of Labor Budget in Brief" (PDF).
^ "About OSHA".
^ a b c Levine, David I.; Toffel, Michael W.; Johnson, Matthew S.
(2012-05-18). "Randomized Government Safety Inspections Reduce Worker
Injuries with No Detectable Job Loss". Science. 336 (6083): 907–911.
doi:10.1126/science.1215191. ISSN 0036-8075.
^ a b c d "OSHA History" (PDF). Department of Labor.
^ "What is an OSHA State Program". Archived from the original on
^ "Section 19 of the OSHA Act of 1970: Federal Agency Safety Programs
and Responsibilities". Department of Labor.
^ "Who OSHA Covers".
^ "Employer Responsibilities".
^ "OSHA Training Standards Policy Statement".
^ "Personal Protective Equipment Booklet". Archived from the original
^ "Personal Protective Equipment fact sheet" (PDF).
^ "OSHA Inspections" (PDF).
^ "OSHA Injury and Illness Recordkeeping and Reporting
^ "Job Safety and Health: It's the Law Poster" (PDF).
^ a b c d "The
Department of Labor Budget in Brief, FY2013
OSHA - Current 29 CFR Books in Digital Format OSHA - List of Highly Hazardous Chemicals
OSHA in the Federal Register
Occupational Safety and Health Act
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Agencies under the United States Department of Labor
Headquarters: Frances Perkins Building
Alex Acosta, Secretary of Labor Vacant, Deputy Secretary of Labor
Deputy Secretary of Labor
Administrative Review Board Benefits Review Board Bureau of International Labor Affairs Bureau of Labor Statistics Center for Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships Employees' Compensation Appeals Board Employee Benefits Security Administration Office of Administrative Law Judges Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program Employment and Training Administration Mine Safety and Health Administration Occupational Safety and Health Administration Office of the Chief Financial Officer Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs Office of Inspector General Office of Labor-Management Standards Office of Public Engagement Office of the Solicitor Office of Workers' Compensation Programs Veterans' Employment and Training Service Wage and Hour Division Women's Bureau
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Occupational safety and health
Occupational diseases and injuries
Byssinosis ("brown lung")
Chimney sweeps' carcinoma
Chronic solvent-induced encephalopathy (CSE)
Occupational hazard Hierarchy of hazard controls Prevention through design Exposure assessment Occupational exposure limit Occupational epidemiology
Environmental health Industrial engineering Occupational health nursing Occupational health psychology Occupational medicine Occupational therapist Safety engineering
Agencies and organizations
European Agency for Safety and Health at Work UK Health and Safety Executive International Labour Organization U.S. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration World Health Organization
Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981
Worker Protection Standard
Environment, health and safety
Indoor air quality
International Chemical Safety Card
National Day of Mourning (Canadian observance)
Process safety management
Safety data sheet
Category Occupational diseases Commons Jour