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OSHA – Safety in the Workplace

The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor that was signed under the Occupational Safety and Health Act on December 30th, 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon. The Occupational Safety and Health Act states its purpose as the following:

To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes.

OSHA federal regulations cover most private sector workplaces. State and local government workers are not covered by Federal OSHA, but they do have protections by the Occupied Safety and Health Act if they work in a state that has an OSHA approved state program. For more information on coverage in your state, please see the OSHA regional offices link listed below.

The following is a brief list of standard workers' rights under OSHA that apply to most worksites:

  • Working conditions that do not pose a risk of serious harm
  • Protection from potential workplace threats such as hazardous chemicals and heavy machinery operation
  • The right to file a complaint if employee feels their current workplace is not up to OSHA standards
  • Use of OSHA rights without getting discriminated against
  • Information and training about workplace hazards (in a language the worker can understand)
  • Right to test records of workplace injuries and illnesses kept up to date by employer

Several employer duties include:

  • Comply with the General Duty Clause (keep their workplace free of serious hazards)
  • Provide fall protection
  • Prevent trenching cave ins and infection disease from spreading
  • Assure safety when entering confined spaces
  • Prevent exposure to harmful chemicals (by means of training, labeling, color-coded systems, etc)
  • Apply safety guards to machinery
  • Have up to date safety and emergency equipment on site such a respirator
  • Provide sufficient training for specific dangerous tasks and jobs
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses – accessible to employees
  • Perform tests such as air sampling, hearing exams, and other medical tests required by OSHA
  • Post OSHA citations and posters in the workplace, visible to employees

For further details on information and OSHA regulations more specific to your workplace, please visit in the links below.

All About OSHA

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

Frequently cited Federal or State OSHA standards

File a Complaint with OSHA

OSHA Regional Offices

State Occupational Safety and Health Plans

OSHA Compliance Assistance

OSHA Contact Info

Labor Law Poster Update

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