Unit 16 Lecture Notes - Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) of 1970 was designed to protect workers in the workplace environment. OSH Act addresses both the workplace environment and injuries. It's stated purpose is to protect the health and safety of employees. It does this through specific standards and the general duty clause. Specific standards are developed for particular types of work. The specific standards specifies the way a specific job must be done to avoid injury or illness. The general duty clause is a catchall that requires that every employer provide a safe work place. It covers even those situations for which no standard exists.

The standard setting process is designed to protect employees. It is based upon the best scientific understanding available. Often scientific uncertainty causes disagreements about the form that particular standards should take. These disputes are typically resolved through litigation.

OSH Act requires record keeping. A Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) must be kept for each chemical at the work site. Incidents must generally be reported to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA). Inspections are made at reasonable times. Investigations are initiated as the result either of accidents or complaints. These programs are delegated to the states.


Last Updated: May 6, 2002 12:19