While some people might argue that the government is always trying to interfere with legislation and regulation, no one can argue that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, has taken large measures to protect workers’ safety and their rights to a hazard-free workplace. OSHA has risen in importance from the time of its conception, and now almost every single business displays special OSHA posters on their walls to inform workers of their rights.
The birthday of OSHA was December 29, 1970. Then-President Richard Nixon signed the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act into law. The purpose of the act was to give the national government the authority to set, monitor, and enforce proper safety techniques around most workplaces. The Secretary of Labor at the time, James Hodgson, set up the Occupational Safety and Health Agency under the Department of Labor on April 28, 1971.
At first, many people complained about the act. The agency required companies to retrofit machinery with protective guards, as well as provide training and documentation that was expensive and time-consuming. Also, the Department of Labor was not very strict about consistently enforcing the act. Because of all of the work cut out for them, OSHA administrators first turned their focus on the especially dangerous companies and industries, as well as the regulation of asbestos.
Even these tasks did not relieve the administration from criticism. There was an uproar over small vs. large business regulation, the need for nitpicky documentation, and other aspects of OSHA’s control. However, two tragic workplace accidents in 1973 proved the necessity of having safety regulations in for the business world. The government officials worked hard to bring their rules up to date, both with safety and health topics.
This eventually lead to a crackdown on chemicals used by a number of different businesses. January 14, 1989, marked the date on which OSHA reasserted its authority by declaring exposure limits for 52 chemicals, up from its original 24 limitations created during the lifespan of the agency. Some speculate that this was to help OSHA “practice what it preached.”
The 21st century has shown OSHA as a group that has fully matured and is now in control of worker’s safety and health rights. There has been legislation passed to reduce ergonomic injuries, as well as large fines given by the agency to companies who cause oil spills and who are found lacking in health standards. Now, OSHA develops similar regulatory programs at the state level and encourages employees to report their concerns about hazards in the workplace. It works to save lives and protect people from work-related illness and injury. As you can see, it has come a long way since its induction, and it now serves as a major guideline for businesses today.
If you feel that your company has not followed OSHA standards, leading to personal injury or death, you may qualify for financial compensation. For more information on personal injury law in your area, check out the Legal City Attorney Search Directory today.