What is OSHA?

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Many have heard of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, but many are greatly unaware of its function and presence. Let’s get to the core of OSHA.

OSHA Mission and Authority

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration. In 1970, this important government agency was created as a response to growing problems in workplace hazards and injuries. In its efforts to thwart a seemingly rule-free employment market and the resulting difficulties bestowed on workers, OSHA was tasked with oversight in these areas of workplace regulations and worker safety.

With a responsibility of effectively governing these areas of concern, the federal government bestowed great authority and resources upon this new agency. The agency would have federal governing power over any employee-employer relationships within United States territory. It would also have the power of consequential actions, being able to punish or take any other actions deemed necessary to enforce compliance. In addition, the agency would grow to always meet the needs of its nationwide,ever-expanding job market. This growth is enabled by the steady provision of any needed resources to the agency by the federal government.

Valuable Resource

Along with serving as today’s omnipotent overseer of the American workforce, OSHA functions as a valuable education and resource forum. Through the agency, employers and employees alike can seek help and information on all areas of the subject. As stated at the agency’s website, community goals beyond compliance enforcement are sought “by providing training, outreach, education and assistance”. By telephone, mail, in-person or website interaction, OSHA actively administers all necessary resources for a healthy and standardized, nationwide workforce.

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Common Codes

Everyone involved in an employer-employee relationship is governed by the power of OSHA. Whether you are familiar with such implications or not, you probably have heard of some common OSHA codes. Perhaps some the following are familiar.

-All employers must maintain records of workplace-related injuries and illness.

-Employers must provide hazard communication to employees through appropriate labels, chemical information sheets, alarms, training, and any other method necessary to ensuring safety.

-Employees can file a complaint with the agency at any time with regard to workplace concerns. These same employees are immune from any possible, succeeding retaliation by the employer.

-Employers must always provide the proper PPE, or personal protective equipment to all employees, free of charge.

OSHA in the Headlines

OSHA’s place in the American workforce is pivotal. As aforementioned, the agency’s power and reach is without question. To get a better feel for OSHA in the real world of workforce advocacy, we can glean quite a wealth of understanding by looking to some past headlines.

Hearkening back to 2007, OSHA announced that it had issued over $666,000 worth of fines to employers failing to administer adequate training to employees. A York, Pennsylvania insulation company saw a $490,000 fine in 2015 for exposing workers to asbestos in a more famed incident. In January of 2016, OSHA announced a stiff increase in monetary fine amounts. These are just a few of the telling OSHA actions commonly seen in the news.

OSHA is the governing force on the standards and employee safety needed in today’s workplace. Since its inception in 1970, it has educated the masses and led the forward-thinking world in such evolved workplace standards. This is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s role fulfilled.

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