Occupational Safety And Health Act (Osha)

1058 words - 4 pages

AbstractOver the years, many states as well as the Federal government have attempted to enact legislation to protect employee physical well-being on the job without much success. State laws governed factory inspections, machine guarding and provided limited provisions for health hazards, but many hazards were left uncontrolled. (MacLaury 1981). The end of a tedious political battle to enact government regulation of workplace hazards was marked by the signing into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) in December 29, 1970.Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)The Occupational Safety and Health Act or OSHA states the following: "each employer shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to its employees. Each employer shall comply with the occupational safety and health standards promulgated under this act." (Bennett-Alexander, Hartman 2003 pp 692). Highly publicized accidents in the steel and mining industries shocked the nation and led to the creation of the US Steel Committee in 1908 as well as the US Bureau of Mines in 1910. The US Steel Safety Committee's goal was to reduce the accident rates as much as possible. The committee was a safety first and its success caused it to spill over into other industries and led to the creation of the National Safety Council in 1915 (MacLaury 1981). In 1913, Congress created the Department of Labor and its primary purposes were to improve working conditions in the nation and make unhealthy occupations healthy. Congress called on the Labor Department to report on industrial diseases and accidents (MacLaury 1981).The threat to employee safety continued to grow into the 1950's and 60's and the Federal government began to take a more active role. The Walsh-Healey Act originally adopted in 1936, was amended in 1960. This Act permitted the Department of Labor to issue its own set of mandatory safety and health standards which applied to a broad range of industries. The new rules were quite unpopular because hearings had not been held prior to their adoption. Labor unions, industry officials and businesses were troubled that they were not consulted prior to the implementation of this act and protested (MacLaury 1981). In response to the on-going protests the department held hearings in 1964. The wave of criticism grew during the hearing which forced the Department of Labor to examine all of its safety programs more closely and develop a coordinated safety and health policy between the Federal and State governments (MacLaury 1981). A report issued in 1965 by the Pubic Health Service outlined newly detected technological dangers in the workplace stating that new chemicals enter into the workplace every 20 minutes and evidence showed a link between cancer and the workplace. The report cried out for a major national occupational health effort. In 1968 the Johnson...

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