What is OSHA?

What is OSHA?

You may be surprised to see this question on SnapFox, but I'm here to tell you, the number of questions and misconceptions out there about OSHA have made this blog post an absolute necessity. 

OSHA has gained a reputation, but not necessarily a level of understanding amongst both employees and employers. 

I'm here to help clarify what OSHA is, why we have it and what they do.

What is OSHA?

OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Act. 

It's a federal program that governs workplace safety.

Basically, they create and enforce safety rules and regulations.

OSHA's commitment to the people of the US is to assure that working people have a safe and heathy workplace.

Sounds good, right?

Why do we have OSHA?

OSHA was established after the industrial revolution. 

Basically, workplace conditions had changed so quickly and in many cases, become so dangerous, that safety couldn't be left in the hands of employers any more.

There was man-eating machinery in factories that employed children.

Untested chemicals were being used in mass quantities.

Injuries and disabilities from workplace accidents were increasing every year.

You can see how things were getting out of hand.

So, the government created OSHA in 1971 to help keep employers in check and make sure workplaces operated in a safe and ethical way. 


What does OSHA do?

Basically, OSHA creates, educates on, and enforces their regulations

If a trend in workplace illnesses or injuries is found, OSHA may try to create regulations to prevent employees from being harmed.

Often, this is an extremely lengthy process which is held up by lobbyists and industry interests before a rule is added or updated.

Once a rule is on the books, OSHA's officers will conduct inspections to check that these regulations are being upheld by employers.

The inspections can be random, or they can be a result of an employee complaint or an injury or fatality report.


How is OSHA perceived?

This is a frustrating fact, but often OSHA is seen as the enemy to both employers and employees.

But OSHA is actually a good thing.

However, many business owners and employee view OSHA as an opponent rather than an ally.

This is because safety regulations can be burdensome to employees and so OSHA becomes the black sheep of the worksite.

Most business owners get tense thinking about the possibility of OSHA paying a visit because they feel concerned that they could get fines for issues they never knew existed.

I get it. 

Audits are a scary thing to businesses. 

But it doesn't have to be this way.

OSHA is here to stay.

And I also don't know a single business owner who doesn't truly care about his or her employee's safety.

The best thing to do when it comes to dealing with OSHA, is learning to swim with the current.

Yes, getting up to speed on the regulations can take time and effort.

But studies show that safer companies are more efficient, produce better quality products and have better employee retention.

So, it's worth the time and effort to get acquainted with OSHA and their regulations for your industry.

It's what's best for employees and employers.

Reading next

A Quick Start Guide to Safety for Small Businesses
Easy Basics to a Positive Safety Culture

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