Occupational Safety and Health Administration
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 emplo...
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...am will be tailored to suit the needs of the particular employer or workplace. To ensure success with these programs OSHA plans to improve collection, tracking and analysis of information. Then based on the analysis of the information OSHA plans to target new areas, and develop new training.
In order to meet the needs for additional training and implementing new plans OSHA must strengthen their infrastructure and capabilities. One part of this effort, which differs from past OSHA efforts, is using customer communication as an information source. Another major task to improve capabilities will be to conduct a comprehensive workforce skills assessment and enhance future technical competency. Another key element to future
growth, is OSHA’s commitment to maintain Information Technology (IT) for a mobile workforce. This enables OSHA to deploy a mobile staff that maintains real-time communication with the central organization.
In conclusion, OSHA has its hands full trying to keep up with technology and manufacturing processes. Wireless communications as well as computing have enabled the manufacturing industry to rapidly advance and it’s up to OSHA to do the same.