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2: Introduction to OSHA

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    • 2.1: History and Origins
      Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
    • 2.2: OSHA Procedures
      OSHA has set procedures for conducting worksite inspections, assessing civil penalties for compliance violations, delegating employer and employee responsibilities, filing complaints, promoting changes and rulemaking, codifying requirements, recordkeeping and reporting. This section provides a brief detail of OSHA Protocols.
    • 2.3: OSHA Subparts
      List of General Industry and Construction Standards Subparts, paragraph numbering system, and recordkeeping and reporting requirements.
    • 2.A: Review Questions

    "Safety doesn't happen by accident." – Author Unknown


    The Occupational Safety and Health Administration just celebrated 50 years! There are several generations of workers currently in the workplace. The oldest generation, the baby boomers (1946-1964) have had the longest tenure under an era of legislated workplace safety and generation Z (1997-2009) the shortest. For some of you in this very moment the realization that what you see manifested in the workplace with respect to safety, what you expect in the workplace regarding safety does not have a long history. So let that sink in. Prior to the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, workers’ were not guaranteed, nor had the right to expect safe working conditions in which to provide for self, family, and community.

    The act also created the OSHA research arm, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) currently part of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which relies heavily on information farmed by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) which was also created immediately prior to the signing of the OSH Act. Collectively, these organizations have been responsible for ensuring the health and safety of the public at large for the past 50 years. As skilled workers you should understand how these organizations support overall worker safety and health setting the stage for sustaining the next 50 years of safe workplaces.

    In this chapter you will increase not only your awareness of the origins of occupational safety and health in the US but also gain a better understanding of how you as a skilled worker will contribute to safe working environments.

    Chapter Objective:

    1. Understand when and how OSHA was established.
    2. Review the OSHA Act, OSHA's Mission, Objectives and Administrative Protocols.
    3. Discuss employee rights to a safe workplace.
    4. Discuss employer responsibilities for ensuring safe workplaces.

    Learning Outcome:

    1. Identify and understand both employer and employee responsibilities for keeping workplaces safe.
    2. Describe structure, arrangement and order of OSHA Standards.

    Standard: 29CFR1910 OSHA Standards for General Industry, 29CRF1926 OSHA Standards for Construction

    Key Terms:

    ANSI, CDC, CFR, DOL, NIOSH, NRTL, OSHA, codify, consensus, proprietary, standards, subpart

    Mini-Lecture: Introduction to OSHA

    Required Time: 1 hour; Independent Study and reflection 1 ½ hour.

    Thumbnail: Children Workers circa 1920s, Library of Congress,

    This page titled 2: Introduction to OSHA is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Kimberly Mosley (ASCCC Open Educational Resources Initiative (OERI)) .

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