Department of Labor Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the OSH Act

On Jan. 21, the Department of Labor (DOL) celebrates the 1970 OSH Act with “Protecting the American Workforce Campaign.”

Earlier this week, the DOL commemorated the 50th anniversary of the OSH Act of 1970, which aims to ensure that employers provide employees with a safe environment free of recognized hazards like chemical exposure, noise levels, mechanical dangers, and extreme or unsanitary conditions. The Act is responsible for creating the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH).

Please visit title 29, chapter 15 to read the Act in the United States Code.

The DOL released the following press release earlier this week to announce a campaign for worker protection for the Act’s 50th year of existence. It also provides a way for insight into OHSA’s latest efforts to protect American workers.

U.S. Department of Labor Commemorates 50 Years
Of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
With “Protecting the American Workforce” Campaign
Yearlong Efforts will Highlight OSHA Past Achievements, Current Efforts and Future Goals

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) with a yearlong celebration of past achievements, current efforts and future initiatives to protect the American workforce.

Signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970, the OSH Act was created “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women,” laying the groundwork for the creation of OSHA the following spring. Following the establishment of the OSH Act, workplace fatalities were reduced approximately 65 percent.

“America’s workplaces are safer and healthier thanks to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the thousands of individuals at the Labor Department who have implemented the act over the last 50 years,” U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. “The OSH Act is a cornerstone of worker protection in our country, and thanks to OSHA’s work, countless American workers have gotten home safely to their families each day.”

“The creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made real, demonstrable improvement in worker safety in the United States,” said Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor of Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. “OSHA looks to continue to reduce occupational hazards and improve worker health. I am proud of the agency’s half century of accomplishments and look forward to working with everyone dedicated to the agency’s mission.”

From the adoption of the first national health standard, to the affirmation of the imminent danger provisions and whistleblower protection laws, to the creation of training institutes and education grants, OSHA remains focused on its mission to safeguard the health and safety of the American worker. Readers can also subscribe to OSHA’s bi-monthly QuickTakes newsletter for the latest news and information regarding OSHA’s efforts to protect the American workforce. 

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are responsible for providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees. OSHA’s role is to help ensure these conditions for America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards, and providing training, education and assistance. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.

The mission of the Department of Labor is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.

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