Today we assume workplaces in America are relatively safe places. This is not always the case but today’s workplace is much less hazardous than in the 1960s, partly due to the role of OSHA.

In the late 1960s, occupational injuries and illnesses were spiking in the workplace both in terms of number and the severity, according to the United States Department of Labor.

Injuries that led to worker disabilities rose by a fifth during the decade. As many as 14,000 workers were losing their lives on the job each year before the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The politicians were not oblivious to the trend. Senator Harrison A. Williams Jr. of New Jersey pressed for legislation on workplace safety and health legislation.

He warned the industrial accident situation was deteriorating, rather than improving. Workers in a wide range of industries were facing a range of hazards from asbestos, noise and cotton dust.

OSHA and workplace safety

OSHA plays a key role in workplace safety

Politicians in the House were also waking up to the dire situation. William A. Steiger pointed out more than 400,000 Americans died in work-related accidents and of disease in a 25-year period. He said 50 million more ended up with disabling injuries.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 was signed by President Richard Nixon on Dec. 29. It was also known as the Williams-Steiger Act in honor of the two politicians who fought so hard for its passage.

Although we still read about industrial accidents in Georgia, deaths in the workplace have plummeted since the late 1960s. In 2016, OSHA recorded 4,693 worker fatalities.

OSHA has a series of roles in maintaining workplace safety. The agency.

Sets Standards

OSHA has a series of advisory committees that formulate standards. The organization can assess penalties to workplaces in violation. However, OSHA can revise standards when necessary and grant variances if an employer is unable to meet them immediately. OSHA can also assess penalties to workplaces in violation.

Publishes Workplace Safety Reports

OSHA is a part of the Department of Labor. It is responsible for publishing statistical reports through the Bureau of Labor Statistics related to injuries, illnesses, and deaths in the workplace. OSHA reveals what workplace standards are most frequently violated.

Responds to Worker Appeals

One of the functions of OSHA is to hear worker concerns and respond to them appropriately. Workers can make a health and safety complaint by calling or writing OSHA. This is a right of workers. In some cases, employers who demoted or fired workers who made a complaint to OSHA were sued.

Issues Hazard Alerts to Workers

OSHA issues hazard alerts to employers and workers. The agency alerts them to potential workplace dangers and informs them of action they can take to avoid a risk.

Provides on the Job Training

OSHA has a wealth of learning resources like training videos and interactive web-based tools on a range of health and safety topics. Typical issues include working with electricity, construction site safety and working in the food industry. The OSHA training institute gives classes in occupational safety and health for workers like consultants, compliance officers and federal agents.

Although OSHA has helped reduce workplace accidents and deaths significantly since the 1960s, there are still too many workplace accidents. If you have been hurt in the workplace or lost a loved one, call our Newnan personal injury lawyers at (404) 913-1529.