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Osha Past Present Future

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Past, Present and Future


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA is a

part of the US Department of Labor, and was started in 1970 as part of the

Occupational Safety and Health Act. Its mission is to prevent work-related

injuries, illnesses, and deaths by issuing and enforcing rules (called standards) for workplace safety and health. Since it's inception it has helped

to cut the incidents of workplace fatalities by sixty percent, and occupational

injury and illness rates by forty percent. This presentation will present what

OSHA has accomplished in the past, present and what it hopes to accomplish in the future.

There are many reasons for the introduction of an organization like

OSHA. In the 18th century workers, during the English Industrial revolution,

People worked in the coal mines naked, because there was no governmental

regulation. At the onset of the Industrial revolution in America there wasn't

much in the way of protecting it's workforce either, from abuse by their

employers. Unsafe working conditions and child labor was prevalent in

industry. In 1884 the first agency designed to address labor issues was called

the Bureau of Labor. At this time it was a part of the Department of the

Interior, as there was no Department of Labor. The department of Labor was

established as a cabinet level agency in 1913.

Some of the major changes to industrial safety since OSHA was

established, are as follows. In 1970 they established the use of guards on all

moving parts to prevent contact with moving machinery. Permissible

exposure limits on air borne chemicals and dust particles. Also the emphasis

on personal protective equipment in the work place. In the 1980's OSHA

started the Lockout Tagout program where businesses are required to put

locks and tags on equipment that is in the off or deenergized state, while

maintenance or repair work is being performed. In 1990 they instituted the

confined space program to cut down on the number of deaths and injuries

due to workers entering manholes, pits, bins and other confined spaces. They

also instituted the Hazard communication process, or "Right to know". This

is a system of information readily available to workers on the chemicals

used in the work place.


OSHA currently has 2,200 employees including 1,100 inspectors and a budget of over $468 Million. Trying to enforce the regulations under these circumstances would be a monumental task. OSHA is making great strides to become more proactive. Under the Bush Administration OSHA has developed a 3-pronged plan:

* Strong, fair, and effective enforcement

* Outreach, Education, and Compliance Assistance

* Partnership and Cooperative Programs

Enforcement is the foundation of OSHA's effort to protect the health and safety of American workers. OSHA's mission is to have every American worker home, whole and healthy every day. Last year less than 1% of their inspectors were under the Enhanced Enforcement Program, which targets Employers who willfully and repeatedly violate the rules.

Outreach, Education and Assistance helps OSHA play a key role in prevention of worker injury and illness. OSHA maintains an extensive and informative web site including a section that focuses on small business, tools to help both workers and employers identify and address special

hazards, also to prevent illness. Last year alone, more than 50 Million people logged onto this web site. The agency provides publications in print and online to aid in training. OSHA also maintains a call center staffed during business hours and a 24-hour hotline for problems after hours. In order to

help non - English speaking people OSHA provides material and help in regional offices in Spanish, Japanese, Polish and Korean.

OSHA has several Cooperative Programs. The Alliance Program focuses on Labor, Trade and Professional organizations as well as Business Educational and other Government Agencies that have an interest in workplace safety.

The Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP) is where OSHA enters a long-term agreement between OHSA and groups of employers and or employees to improve workplace safety. The agreements are usually a 3 or more year contract that focus on safety and health programs that include enforcement, outreach, and training to help eliminate serious hazards and facilitate measurement to verify effectiveness. These strive to be a win - win situation for both groups. Sometimes Insurance companies and other groups are

included for the technical expertise they can bring to the table. This allows OSHA to serve as a facilitator and technical resource. This also helps OSHA spread its message and better leverage its meager resources to reach even more companies and workers. This in turn allows OSHA to focus its Enforcement Program efforts where they are needed most. The OSPP

benefits the employer by helping them control their medical cost and worker compensation rates. It promotes a corporate culture of worker health and safety, improves morale and productivity, and lowers absenteeism. Another benefit to both groups is it changes their relationship from one of adversarial to one of cooperation. Employers find that OSHA is a willing listener as well as an effective ally. Since



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