U. S. Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Safety in the

Workplace - OSHA -

Federal and State Laws


What is OSHA and what exactly are it's functions?
By: The Working Man

OSHA is the acronym for the U.S. Federal Occupational Safety and
Health Administration.

The stated mission of OSHA is to save lives, prevent injuries and
protect the health of U.S. workers. To do that federal laws such
as the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 have been
passed requiring state governments to work with the federal
government and the more than six and one half million employers
and their more than one hundred million workers who are covered
by the Act, to set effective standards and procedures for
workplace safety.

Nearly every worker in the United States comes under the
jurisdiction of OSHA, except for some public employees covered
under the programs of their individual states. Of course
industrial workers are covered, but lawyers, journalists, federal
government employees, occupational safety and health employees,
and the academic community also benefit from the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration and its services.

Between OSHA and its state partners, there are thousands of
inspectors, engineers, educators, physicians, writers of
standards, complaint investigators and other support personnel
staffing the more than two hundred OSHA offices across the United
States of America. These staff members research, establish,
educate about, consult on, inspect, and enforce the Occupational
Safety and Health Administration Standards.

State OSHA Organizations

With the OSH Act of 1970, each of the fifty United States is
encouraged to have its own job safety and health programs. State
plans must be approved and monitored by OSHA, and if they are
approved OSHA provides consulting and up to half of the operating
costs for the plan.

Currently about half the states have fully operating state
occupational safety and health plans that cover both the private
sector and state and local government employees. Some states had
plans at one time but have withdrawn them, probably because the
OSH Act requires that states set job safety and health standards
that are "at least as effective as" the federal standards, which
can be costly to enforce.

States do have the right to add standards of their own above and
beyond the federal standards. And if a state does maintain its
own standards it must also conduct its own inspections and
training programs and provide on-site consulting services for

Employees who find workplace hazards may file a formal complaint
with either their state or regional OSHA administrator.
Complaints should include all needed information such as the
workplace name, hazards observed, and any other useful
information. All complaints are investigated.

If you have a complaint about a state program, you can file a
complaint with the regional administrator, your name will be kept
confidential, and all complaints are investigated. If your
complaint is found to be valid, the state agency will be required
to correct the situation

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