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Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

John P. Forren

With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) (84 Stat. 1690), Congress triggered a rapid and unprecedented expansion of the federal government's role in protecting worker health and well-being. For most Americans, the concerns that had prompted passage of this landmark law were hardly unfamiliar or new. Journalists and progressive reformers for nearly a century had highlightedoften with grisly tales of disfigurement and deathhow accidents in America's factories and mines had ruined thousands of workers' lives. Federal statistics compiled since 1911 had also documented a growing epidemic of work-related illness and disease. Still, Congress throughout the industrial period had done little to stem this tide. The broadest early federal reform measureslegislation establishing the U.S. Department of Labor in 1913 and banning exploitative child labor in 1938intentionally left most regulatory power over industrial working conditions with the states. Stronger federal laws, such as the Esch Act of 1912 (which effectively outlawed the production of white phosphorus matches) and the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act of 1936 (which barred federal contracts for companies operating hazardous worksites), applied only to targeted industries or small segments of the private sector.

By the late 1960s, however, prospects for a broader federal regulatory role had improved in several respects. For one thing, Americans in the wake of the New Deal and the civil rights movement had largely grown accustomed to federal oversight of activitieslike industrial productiononce controlled primarily by the states. For another thing, the federal judiciary had substantially adjusted the Constitution's balance of state and federal powers since the late 1930s so as to accommodate more aggressive national regulation. Most significantly, decades of regulatory failure had made clear to most observers that the nation's faith in state laws to protect workers' health and safety had long been tragically misplaced. On-the-job accident rates had continued to rise unabated; as the Secretary of Labor reported in 1969, disabling work-related injuries had increased by 20 percentup to 2.2. million per yearjust since 1958. State governments struggled constantly to pay for vigorous enforcement of their health and safety laws. And states, competing with each other to attract and retain manufacturing jobs, faced ever-stronger incentives to water down their safety standards in order to reduce the costs of businesses operating within their borders.

THE ENACTMENT OF OSHA

Citing a national crisis, President Lyndon B. Johnson submitted a comprehensive occupational safety and health bill to Congress in January 1968. Under Johnson's proposal, the U.S. Department of Labor would have been charged with establishing mandatory safety standards for most worksites throughout the nation. Employers also would have been assigned a new "general duty" to prevent on-the-job accidents and illnesses. What is more, to ensure compliancelong a problem under existing state lawsJohnson proposed a new corps of federal inspectors, to be armed with broad authority to investigate worksites and penalize violators. Labor groups immediately applauded Johnson's initiative and promised political support; yet in the end, the Johnson bill failed to come to a vote in either house of Congress in 1968. Industry groups lobbied vigorously against it from the outset, joined by pro-business legislators and "states' rights" activists fearing an expansion of federal regulatory authority. President Johnson, distracted by the Vietnam War, domestic upheaval, and election-year politics, never mounted an aggressive legislative campaign in response.

Despite this initial setback, workplace safety legislation emerged again in Congress the following year. Newly elected Republican President Richard M. Nixon, seeing an opportunity to siphon blue-collar voters away from opposition Democrats, announced his support for a modified occupational safety and health bill early in August 1969. Under Nixon's plan, the Labor Department would have carried out the task of workplace inspections in much the same way that President Johnson had envisioned; yet in a key change, Nixon sought to assign the power of establishing national safety and health standards to a new five-person board to be appointed by the president. Nixon also called for lighter penalties against violators and exemptions from the law for small employers. Business groups, led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, this time came out solidly in support of Nixon's division-of-power approach. Organized labor, however, rejected any watering down of Labor Department authority and rallied behind an alternative Senate Democratic bill instead.

Amidst this labor-management conflict, both legislative proposals bogged down in Congress for more than a year. But congressional Republicans broke the logjam in November 1970 when they agreed to lodge standards-making authority in a new agencythe Occupational Safety and Health Administrationwithin the Department of Labor. Democrats, in turn, agreed to dilute Occupational Safety and Health Administration's enforcement power by creating a separate appointed body, the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, to judge cases involving possible industry violations. With this compromise in hand, both houses of Congress quickly agreed to a final version of the bill in a lame-duck December session. President Nixon dropped his remaining objections, and in a Labor Department ceremony attended by labor union and business leaders alike, Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on December 29, 1970.

In its final form OSHA established a multifaceted federal approach toward improving workplace conditions. One set of provisions in the act established procedures aimed at promoting cooperation between OSHA regulators and state public health agencies. Another set of provisions created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Healthnow part of the Centers for Disease Control and Preventionto carry out research into job-related accidents and diseases. Additional sections of the act required the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to collect and distribute up-to-date health and safety information to employers in high-risk industries. Extensive funding and outreach mechanisms were also established to assist small businesses and industries with outmoded technologies in their efforts to meet OSHA-promulgate workplace standards.

Beyond those measures, the act most notably granted to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration the direct authority to promulgate and enforce specific safety and health rules for almost every place of employment in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's primary mission, the act declares, is "to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions." To that end, the agency must ensure that employers take any measures "reasonably necessary and appropriate" to protect workers' long-term health and safety. Mandatory OSHA standards may thus include extensive requirements of protective equipment, employee training, and monitoring of dangerous job sites. Agency compliance efforts may entail unscheduled worksite inspections and extensive record-keeping requirements. OSHA inspectors may impose sanctions and remedial measures on employers found in violation of promulgated standards. And in the event of "imminent" threats to worker safety or health, the agency may bypass its ordinary rule-making process and seek immediate injunctive relief in a federal district court.

OSHA'S IMPACT IN THE WORKPLACE

By arming the agency with such broad regulatory and enforcement authority, OSHA's main architects in Congress clearly hoped for dramatic and lasting improvements in the health and well-being of American workers. Indeed, as one leading senator predicted during final floor debate, the Occupational Safety and Health Act would stand as "one of the truly great landmark pieces of social legislation in the history of [the] country." Yet over three decades later, reviews of the act and the administrative apparatus it created continue to be mixed at best. OSHA supporters point to compelling evidence of success: since 1970, workplace fatalities in the United States have decreased sharply, debilitating occupational diseases such as "brown lung" and asbestosis have virtually disappeared, and workers in American factories and mills now experience greatly reduced levels of exposure to such dangerous substances as cotton dust, lead, arsenic, beryllium metal and vinyl chloride. Yet critics of the agency question whether OSHA should be assigned significant credit for these achievements; technological advances and global economic changes, they say, have been the primary forces behind improvements in American worker safety and health. Further, critics from across the ideological spectrum attack the agency for failing to execute its mission with what they see as appropriate zeal. Naysayers on the political right complain that OSHA regulators too often ignore market remedies and impose workplace rules without adequate consideration of cost. Those on the left, meanwhile, sometimes fault the agency for watering down standards in the face of industry pressure and for failing to exercise sufficient independence during periods of pro-business Washington leadership.

Despite such criticisms, attempts to enact major revisions of OSHA since 1970 have consistently failed. Moreover, given the current bipartisan consensus about the need for active federal leadership in occupational safety and health, significant alterations of the act in the near future seem unlikely.

See also: Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938; Walsh-Healey Act.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Berman, Daniel M. Death on the Job: Occupational Health and Safety Struggles in the United States. New York: Monthly Review Press, 1978.

Lofgren, Don J. Dangerous Premises: An Insider's View of OSHA Enforcement. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 1989.

McGarity, Thomas O., and Sidney A. Shapiro. Workers At Risk: The Failed Promise of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993.

Rosner, David, and Gerald Markowitz, eds. Dying for Work: Workers' Safety and Health in Twentieth-Century America. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

United States Department of Labor. All about OSHA. Washington, DC: OSHA Publications Office, 2000.

United States Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare. Legislative History of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Washington, DC: Government Printing Office, 1971.

Viscusi, W. Kip. Risk by Choice: Regulating Health and Safety in the Workplace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1983.

White, Lawrence. Human Debris: The Injured Worker in America. New York: Seaview/Putnam, 1983.

INTERNET RESOURCE

Occupational Safety and Health Administration Home Page. <http://www.osha.gov/>.

Downfall of the OSHA

OSHA quickly became one of the federal government's most disliked agencies. Small-business owners complained that they were subject to voluminous and petty rules, as well as to arbitrary inspections. The problem resided in the fact that OSHA adopted a range of "consensus standards" previously defined by federal agencies, trade associations, and safety organizations. Some of these standards were ancient and deemed irrelevant, making OSHA the object of much scorn.

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Occupational Safety and Health Act

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT. President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on 29 December 1970. Sometimes referred to as the Williams-Steiger Act, after its chief sponsors, Democratic Senator Harrison Williams of New Jersey and Republican Representative William Steiger of Wisconsin, the act is known mostly by its familiar acronym, OSHA. Congress passed OSHA "to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions." To meet this lofty goal, Congress created a vast federal bureaucracy empowered to regulate most businesses. OSHA touches nearly every American workplace and has become a landmark in the history of labor, employment, and public health law.

State regulation of workplace safety began as part of the Progressive response to the industrial revolution during the late nineteenth century. Early in the twentieth century, the burgeoning labor movement lobbied successfully for further regulation. Eventually, the federal government became involved in workplace safety during Franklin Roosevelt's presidency. In 1936, as part of Roosevelt's New Deal, Congress passed the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act, which allowed the Department of Labor to ban federal contract work done under hazardous conditions. Under the leadership of Frances Perkins, Roosevelt's secretary of labor and the first woman cabinet member, the federal government aggressively asserted its authority to regulate private business.

By the 1960s, however, changes in American industry exposed the ineffectiveness of existing state and federal laws. In 1965, the Public Health Service published an influential report that outlined some of the recently discovered technological dangers, including chemicals linked to cancer. The report called for a major national occupational health effort, criticizing existing federal law as too limited and state programs as uncoordinated and insufficient. The AFL-CIO and other labor organizations urged President Lyndon Johnson to support the report's recommendations.

In 1966, President Johnson directed his secretary of labor, Willard Wirtz, to develop a comprehensive national program to protect workers. In the wake of alarming revelations about cancer among uranium miners, on 23 January 1968, Johnson adopted Secretary Wirtz's plan and urged Congress to act. Congress promptly introduced bills embodying the administration's proposal. Wirtz lobbied vigorously for the bills. He testified that each year 14,500 workers died, 2 million were disabled, and more than 7 million hurt as a result of industrial accidents, and that these numbers were steadily rising. He criticized state, local, and private programs as inadequate and fragmented and federal programs as incomplete. Labor unions, public interest groups, and health professionals supported the bills. Industry representatives opposed them. In part because of this opposition, the bills failed to pass Congress in 1968. They also failed because Vietnam War protest, President Johnson's decision not to run for reelection, riots in the inner cities, and other events diverted congressional and national attention away from worker safety and health.

In 1969, President Nixon also called for the enactment of a federal occupational safety and health law, though his proposal was substantially weaker than the one introduced by his predecessor. Republicans in Congress introduced bills reflecting the administration's proposal, and, sensing that some worker safety law must pass, industry switched its position and supported these bills. Democrats in Congress introduced stronger legislation supported by the labor unions, a nascent environmental movement, and consumer advocates like Ralph Nader.

The most controversial debate centered on the scope of the secretary of labor's authority. Democrats favored bills that gave the secretary power to issue occupational safety and health standards, to conduct inspections and impose sanctions, and to adjudicate appeals. Republicans wanted to establish two independent boards appointed by the president, one with authority to issue the standards and the other with authority to decide enforcement appeals. Republicans claimed they did not want to concentrate too much authority in one person, while Democrats worried that a separation of power would result in a weaker law.

Eventually, Republicans and Democrats worked out a compromise solution. The secretary of labor would create and oversee the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which would have the power to set standards, conduct inspections, and impose penalties for violators. A separate commission, called the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, would adjudicate appeals from businesses fined or otherwise penalized by the secretary of labor. Among other provisions, the compromise bill included a "general duty" clause for all businesses to keep the workplace free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. In addition, the compromise granted employees the right to file complaints, accompany inspectors, and participate in Review Commission adjudications, and it prohibited reprisals against whistleblowers. Ultimately, the House of Representatives voted 308–60 in support of the compromise bill, and the Senate adopted it on a voice vote without debate.

Soon after its passage, OSHA became a powerful presence in American workplaces. Many businesses deeply resented the government for telling them how to operate, and the act provoked much controversy. Despite this controversy, however, OSHA itself has remained relatively unchanged. It has only been amended once, in 1998, but these amendments were relatively minor.

Administrative rulemaking, however, has kept OSHA current by responding to changing dangers in the American workplace. After first setting standards for worker safety, OSHA shifted its focus to worker health, setting standards to protect workers from the insidious effects of asbestos, cancer-causing chemicals, beryllium, lead, cotton dust, carbon monoxide, dyes, radiation, pesticides, exotic fuels, and other toxins. In setting such standards, OSHA's jurisdiction has steadily expanded. The nature of workplace injuries has also changed, and OSHA has responded, for example, by setting new standards to alleviate repetitive stress disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome.

OSHA's impact on American business has also varied much in response to evolving administrative rulemaking. Under the administration of President Bill Clinton, OSHA attempted to shift from a top-down, command and control system in which the government tells industry what it should do or else, to a partnership between regulators and private businesses. Under a partnership system, businesses that proactively implement comprehensive safety and health programs obtain flexibility and leniency in meeting OSHA standards.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Levy, JoAnne. "OSHA—What's New at a 'Twenty-Something' Agency: Workplace Environmental Hazards." Missouri Environmental Law and Policy Review 1 (Fall 1993): 49.

Mendeloff, John. Regulating Safety: An Economic and Political Analysis of Safety and Health Policy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1979. See especially the chapter "Political and Economic Perspectives on the Design of Occupational Safety and Health Policy."

Mintz, Benjamin W. OSHA: History, Law, and Policy. Washington, D.C.: Bureau of National Affairs, 1984.

Subcommittee on Labor, Senate Committee on Labor and Public Welfare, Ninety-second Congress, First Session. Legislative History of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1971.

Shannon C.Petersen

See alsoEmployers' Liability Laws ; Government Regulation of Business ; Labor Legislation and Administration .

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Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ACT OF 1970

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, 29 U.S.C.A. § 651 et seq., a business that negligently jeopardizes the lives or health of its workers commits a federal misdemeanor.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the labor department's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to serve as the federal government's workplace-safety watchdog, and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC) to rule on cases, forwarded to it by the Labor Department, of disagreements over the results of OSHA safety and health inspections.

The act authorizes civil fines up to $10,000 for instances where employers "willfully" expose workers to "serious" harm or death. Any act of criminal negligence can result in imprisonment of up to six months.

The Labor Department's assistant secretary for occupational safety and health has responsibility for overseeing OSHA. OSHA has its headquarters in Washington, D.C., and maintains ten regional offices. It develops and promulgates occupational safety and health standards and it issues regulations that enforce these standards. The essence of OSHA is its inspection responsibility. OSHA inspectors conduct investigations and inspections to determine the status of compliance with safety and health standards and regulations. If an inspector visits a work site and finds that the employer is not in compliance with OSHA regulations, the inspector issues a citation and proposes penalties.

From its inception, OSHA has been a controversial agency. Businesses have complained that OSHA regulations are often too bureaucratic, rigid, and hard to understand, making compliance difficult. Organized labor, on the other hand, has charged that OSHA is not diligent enough in enforcing the regulations.

During the administration of President ronald reagan, the number of OSHA inspectors was reduced by 25 percent, making it even more difficult to investigate allegations of injuries. In addition, President Reagan, by executive order No. 12,291 in 1981, permitted OSHA to certify that a company was in compliance with safety and health standards by reviewing paperwork submitted by the company.

OSHA standards and regulations touch every facet of workplace health and safety. The regulations establish maximum levels of exposure to lead, asbestos, chemicals, and other toxic substances, and they specify the proper safety gear for workers. For example, construction workers who work on scaffolding or on structural steel must wear a safety harness.

During the late 1990s, questions arose about whether OSHA regulations applied to commuters and work-at-home employees. In a response to an inquiry about these questions in November 1999, OSHA stated that employers who allow employees to work at home were indeed responsible for any injuries that occurred in the employee's home. This interpretation would mean that employers would have to inspect each employee's home and, if necessary, make necessary corrections to the home design, including cooling, heating, and ventilation systems. Although OSHA claimed that the letter did not represent official policy, several businesses and members of Congress heavily criticized the letter.

OSHA withdrew the responses to the letter in January 2000. According to statements by OSHA spokespersons, the regulations do not apply to most white-collar commuters who work at home. However, regulations do apply to employees who conduct hazardous manufacturing from their homes.

OSHA's letter regarding the regulation of home offices did not end with the agency's withdrawal of its response. In 2001, President george w. bush introduced a series of proposals, named the "New Freedom Initiatives", designed to enhance the opportunities for disabled persons under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Among the proposals was a call to prevent OSHA from regulating home offices, including a specific reference to the 1999 OSHA letter.

OSHA works to improve health and safety through education and training programs. It also provides assistance to state occupational and health programs to maintain consistent national standards. Among its numerous initiatives, OSHA has sought to reduce ergonomic hazards in the workplace that cause pain and discomfort for millions of workers in the U.S. For example, in 2003, OSHA announced that it would work with the u.s. postal service to reduce ergonomic injuries among employees of the service.

Employers have the right to dispute any alleged job-safety or health violation found during an OSHA inspection, the penalties OSHA has proposed, or the time given by OSHA to correct any hazardous situation. Employees and union representatives may file a case challenging the propriety of the time that OSHA has allowed for correction of any violation.

These cases are heard by OSHRC, an independent, quasi-judicial agency. A case arises when a citation is issued against the employer as a result of an OSHA inspection and the employer contests the citation within 15 working days.

All cases that require a hearing are assigned to an administrative law judge (ALJ), who decides the case. The government has the burden of proof. A substantial number of the decisions of the ALJs become final orders of the commission. However, each decision is subject to discretionary review by the three members of the commission upon the direction of any one of the three, if done within 30 days of the filing of the decision. A party who is dissatisfied with an ALJ decision does not have a right of appeal to the commission but must convince at least one commissioner to exercise discretion and to agree to have the commission hear the appeal. When discretionary review is taken, the commission issues its own decision. Once a case is decided, any person who has been adversely affected may file an appeal with a U.S. court of appeals.

The principal office of the commission is located in Washington, D.C. There are also three regional offices where commission judges are stationed.

further readings

U.S. Government Manual Website. Available online at <www.gpoaccess.gov/gmanual> (accessed November 10, 2003).

OSHA Website. Available online at <www.osha.gov> (accessed November 10, 2003).

cross-references

Administrative Law and Procedure; Employment Law; Labor Law; Workers' Compensation.

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Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Definition

The United States Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to ensure that work environments are safe and free of dangerous hazards for both employees and their employers.

Description

When the Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970, it called for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the regulating governmental body that inspects workplaces for unsafe and unhealthy conditions. The first standards were adopted by OSHA in 1971. The Act also created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a federal agency under the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that researches work-related injuries and workplace hazards. NIOSH also is charged with making recommendations on how to prevent accidents in the workplace and, at the request of business owners or its employees, investigates businesses where hazards may exist. The agency is the clearinghouse for dissemination of workplace safety information and trains occupational safety and health professionals. NIOSH follows the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), a research agenda developed by 500 organizations that outlines the top 21 research priorities among workplace safety issues.

The law applies to all employers and employees in the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other jurisdiction of the U.S. federal government. The law is not enforceable among federal or state employees, or farms where only immediate family members are employed. Those who are self-employed or whose workplaces are covered under other federal regulations, such as nuclear energy, mining, or nuclear weapons manufacturing, also are exempt from the Act.

Employers covered by the law are required to implement proper policies and procedures within their businesses that comply with the regulations. Regulations cover, but are not limited to, hazardous waste handling, fall protection at construction sites, asbestos, ergonomics, and respiratory protection. States have the option of enforcing the federal regulations or adopting their own job safety programs that are at least as strict as the OSHA regulations. In 1972, South Carolina, Montana, and Oregon were the first states to approve their own programs.

Employees who work in environments covered by the Act have certain rights under the law. Employees are permitted to file complaints with OSHA regarding the safety conditions of their workplaces. Complaints are kept confidential from employers. In order to enforce the Act, OSHA employs compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) who are authorized to perform inspections of workplaces covered under the law. OSHA conducts two kinds of inspections, programmed and unprogrammed. Unprogrammed inspections are triggered when a fatality or catastrophe occurs, or if a complaint is filed.

Violations

A violation of an OSHA standard covered under the Act carry several penalties depending on the severity of the violation. Violations are classified as other than serious, serious, willful, or repeated.

Other-than-serious violation. An other-than-serious violation directly affects job safety, but likely would not cause serious injury or death. It is within the CSHO's discretion to impose up to a $7,000 penalty for each violation. However, if the business owner shows a good-faith effort to make the appropriate corrections to comply with the law, the $7,000 penalty can be reduced by up to 95%. The size of the business and whether there have been previous violations also are taken into consideration when reducing a penalty.

Serious violation. A serious violation occurs when it is likely that serious injury or death could occur because of a violation of an OSHA standard that the employer knew or should have known was harmful or hazardous. In cases of serious violations, up to a $7,000 penalty can be imposed. But, again, the penalty can be decreased on the basis of previous violations, how serious the violation, good-faith effort to correct the problem, and the size of the business.

Willful violation. An employer willfully commits a violation when he or she is aware the violation exists. Either the employer knows a violation is being committed or does not try to eliminate a dangerous condition that exists. An employer who commits a willful violation faces a penalty of at least $5,000 and not more than $70,000. The only considerations taken into account when decreasing the penalty for a willful violation is the number of previous violations and the size of the business. If a death has occurred as a result of a willful violation, an employer could face up to six months of prison and/or a fine imposed by the courts. If criminal charges are levied and a conviction results, the employer's corporation could face a $500,000 fine and the individual a $250,000 fine, enforceable under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.

Repeated violation. If upon reinspection by OSHA officers a similar violation is found, a $70,000 penalty may be imposed.

Other violations. Once a violation is found, and a deadline imposed as to when the violation must be corrected, employers could face a $7,000 penalty for every day the problem goes uncorrected. Additionally, employers found doctoring records or applications could face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or six months in prison. Any kind of interference with an OSHA compliance officer who is attempting to perform an inspection, whether it be by resisting or intimidating the officer, is considered a crime and could carry up to a $250,000 penalty for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation.

Viewpoints

One of the most controversial OSHA standards debated in Congress was the Ergonomics Rule issued by the agency in November 2000. The measure, which would have applied to 1.6 million employers in the United States, aimed to prevent nearly a half million musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in more than 102 million workers in the country's workplaces. The proposed standard would have affected manual handling, manufacturing, and occupational job sites where MSDs are reported. Employers would have been required to implement ergonomics programs that would decrease the risk of MSDs. However, many employers, particularly owners of small businesses, claimed the measure would be far too costly. OSHA reported that compliance with the regulation would cost businesses $4 billion a year, but would be offset by eliminating the estimated $20 billion a year spent on lost wages and medical costs of those absent from work because of MSDs and other workplace injuries. The National Coalition on Ergonomics (NCE), one of OSHA's staunchest opponents, estimated costs at $26 billion a year for businesses.

After the 2000 election in which George W. Bush was elected President, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted to overturn the rule. Those voting to overturn the rule were most concerned about the cost of implementation, and the lack of sound scientific grounding for the standard. The U.S. Department of Labor began drafting a new ergonomics rule in early 2001.

Professional implications

When OSHA first proposed a new ergonomics rule, officials turned to occupational therapists because the discipline is the most appropriate in dealing with the application of workplace safety regulations. The American Occupational Therapy Association identified ergonomics and workplace safety consulting as a major emerging job market at the turn of the new millennium. Occupational therapists have a strong background in basic health education, physiology, and anatomy. Applying those skills in the workplace setting makes occupational therapists the experts to turn to for consulting needs.

KEY TERMS

Ergonomics— The study of the relationship between people and their working environment.

Musculoskeletal disorder— Injury that affects the muscles and skeleton, such as repetitive stress injuries to the hand and wrist.

Resources

BOOKS

Dell Orto, Arthur E. and Robert P. Marinelli, eds. Encyclopedia of Disability and Rehabilitation New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995.

PERIODICALS

Gourley, Meghan. "Refining OT's Edge in Ergonomics." OT Practice (11 September 2000): 14-17.

ORGANIZATIONS

The American Occupational Therapy Association. 4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. (301) 652-2682. 〈http://www.aota.org〉.

The Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201. (800) 356-4674. 〈http://www.cdc.gov/niosh〉.

The Environmental Protection Agency. Ariel Building, 1200 Pennsylvania, NW, Washington, DC 20210. (202) 260-2090. 〈http://www.epa.gov〉.

National Coalition on Ergonomics. 1615 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20062. (202) 293-3384. 〈http://www.ncergo.org〉.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. (202) 693-4650. 〈http://www.osha.gov〉.

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Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

Definition

The United States Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 to ensure that work environments are safe and free of dangerous hazards for both employees and their employers.

Description

When the Act was signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on December 29, 1970, it called for the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the regulating governmental body that inspects workplaces for unsafe and unhealthy conditions. The first standards were adopted by OSHA in 1971. The Act also created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a federal agency under the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that researches work-related injuries and workplace hazards. NIOSH also is charged with making recommendations on how to prevent accidents in the workplace and, at the request of business owners or its employees, investigates businesses where hazards may exist. The agency is the clearinghouse for dissemination of workplace safety information and trains occupational safety and health professionals. NIOSH follows the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), a research agenda developed by 500 organizations that outlines the top 21 research priorities among workplace safety issues.

The law applies to all employers and employees in the United States, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other jurisdiction of the U.S. federal government. The law is not enforceable among federal or state employees, or farms where only immediate family members are employed. Those who are self-employed or whose workplaces are covered under other federal regulations, such as nuclear energy, mining, or nuclear weapons manufacturing, also are exempt from the Act.

Employers covered by the law are required to implement proper policies and procedures within their businesses that comply with the regulations. Regulations cover, but are not limited to, hazardous waste handling, fall protection at construction sites, asbestos, ergonomics, and respiratory protection. States have the option of enforcing the federal regulations or adopting their own job safety programs that are at least as strict as the OSHA regulations. In 1972, South Carolina, Montana, and Oregon were the first states to approve their own programs.

Employees who work in environments covered by the Act have certain rights under the law. Employees are permitted to file complaints with OSHA regarding the safety conditions of their workplaces. Complaints are kept confidential from employers. In order to enforce the Act, OSHA employs compliance safety and health officers (CSHOs) that are authorized to perform inspections of workplaces that are covered under the law. OSHA conducts two kinds of inspections, programmed and unprogrammed. Unprogrammed inspections are triggered when a fatality or catastrophe occurs, or if a complaint is filed.

Violations

A violation of an OSHA standard covered under the Act carry several penalties depending on the severity of the violation. Violations are classified as other than serious, serious, willful, or repeated.

Other-than-serious violation. An other-than-serious violation directly affects job safety, but likely would not cause serious injury or death. It is within the CSHO's discretion to impose up to a $7,000 penalty for each violation. However, if the business owner shows a good-faith effort to make the appropriate corrections to comply with the law, the $7,000 penalty can be reduced by up to 95%. The size of the business and whether there have been previous violations also are taken into consideration when reducing a penalty.

Serious violation. A serious violation occurs when it is likely that serious injury or death could occur because of a violation of an OSHA standard that the employer knew or should have known was harmful or hazardous. In cases of serious violations, up to a $7,000 penalty can be imposed. But, again, the penalty can be decreased on the basis of previous violations, how serious the violation, good-faith effort to correct the problem, and the size of the business.

Willful violation. An employer willfully commits a violation when he or she is aware the violation exists. Either the employer knows a violation is being committed or does not try to eliminate a dangerous condition that exists. An employer who commits a willful violation faces a penalty of at least $5,000 and not more than $70,000. The only considerations taken into account when decreasing the penalty for a willful violation is the number of previous violations and the size of the business. If a death has occurred as a result of a willful violation, an employer could face up to six months of prison and/or a fine imposed by the courts. If criminal charges are levied and a conviction results, the employer's corporation could face a $500,000 fine and the individual a $250,000 fine, enforceable under the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984.

Repeated violation. If upon reinspection by OSHA officers a similar violation is found, a $70,000 penalty may be imposed.

Other violations. Once a violation is found, and a deadline imposed as to when the violation must be corrected, employers could face a $7,000 penalty for every day the problem goes uncorrected. Additionally, employers found doctoring records or applications could face a fine of up to $10,000 and/or six months in prison. Any kind of interference with an OSHA compliance officer who is attempting to perform an inspection, whether it be by resisting or intimidating the officer, is considered a crime and could carry up to a $250,000 penalty for an individual and $500,000 for a corporation.


KEY TERMS


Ergonomics —The study of the relationship between people and their working environment.

Musculoskeletal disorder —Injuries that affect the muscles and skeleton, such as repetitive stress injuries to the hand and wrist.


Viewpoints

One of the most controversial OSHA standards debated in Congress was the Ergonomics Rule issued by the agency in November 2000. The measure, which would have applied to 1.6 million employers in the United States, aimed to prevent nearly a half million musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) in more than 102 million workers in the country's workplaces. The proposed standard would have affected manual handling, manufacturing, and occupational job sites where MSDs are reported. Employers would have been required to implement ergonomics programs that would decrease the risk of MSDs. However, many employers, particularly owners of small businesses, claimed the measure would be far too costly. OSHA reported that compliance with the regulation would cost businesses $4 billion a year, but would be offset by eliminating the estimated $20 billion a year spent on lost wages and medical costs of those absent from work because of MSDs and other workplace injuries. The National Coalition on Ergonomics (NCE), one of OSHA's staunchest opponents, estimated costs at $26 billion a year for businesses.

After the 2000 election in which George W. Bush was elected President, the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted to overturn the rule. Those voting to overturn the rule were most concerned about the cost of implementation, and the lack of sound scientific grounding for the standard. The U.S. Department of Labor began drafting a new ergonomics rule in early 2001.

Professional implications

When OSHA first proposed a new ergonomics rule, officials turned to occupational therapists because the discipline is the most appropriate in dealing with the application of workplace safety regulations. The American Occupational Therapy Association identified ergonomics and workplace safety consulting as a major emerging job market at the turn of the new millennium. Occupational therapists have a strong background in basic health education, physiology, and anatomy. Applying those skills in the workplace setting makes occupational therapists the experts to turn to for consulting needs.

Resources

BOOKS

Dell Orto, Arthur E. and Robert P. Marinelli, eds. Encyclopedia of Disability and Rehabilitation. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1995.

PERIODICALS

Gourley, Meghan. "Refining OT's Edge in Ergonomics." OT Practice (11 September 2000): 14–17.

ORGANIZATIONS

The American Occupational Therapy Association. 4720 Montgomery Lane, Bethesda, MD 20824-1220. (301) 652-2682. <http://www.aota.org>.

The Centers for Disease Control, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 200 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20201. (800) 356-4674. <http://www.cdc.gov/niosh>.

The Environmental Protection Agency. Ariel Building, 1200 Pennsylvania, NW, Washington, DC 20210. (202) 260-2090. <http://www.epa.gov>.

National Coalition on Ergonomics. 1615 H Street, NW, Washington, DC 20062. (202) 293-3384. <http://www.ncergo.org>.

The U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 200 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20210. (202) 693-4650. <http://www.osha.gov>.

Meghan M. Gourley

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Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

United States 1970

Synopsis

A tragic byproduct of the Industrial Revolution was an alarming rate of death, serious injury, and illness among the generally young, poorly trained, and often immigrant workers. By the 1960s, 14,000 workers were dying on the job each year. Individual states and the U.S. government were making disjointed efforts to provide safer and healthier workplaces, but labor, politicians, and the general public all recognized that a federal agency was needed to coordinate efforts. A bill was promoted in President Lyndon B. Johnson's administration but it died in Congress. The legislature quickly introduced a new bill, and in December 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act, which established OSHA, the Occupational Health and Safety Administration, and two other supportive agencies.

Timeline

  • 1950: North Korean troops pour into South Korea, starting the Korean War.
  • 1955: Signing of the Warsaw Pact by the Soviet Union and its satellites in eastern Europe.
  • 1959: Alaska and Hawaii become the last states added to the Union.
  • 1965: Arrest of the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., and more than 2,600 others in Selma, Alabama. Three weeks later, in New York City, Malcolm X is assassinated.
  • 1967: Arabs attack Israel, launching the Six-Day War, which results in an Israeli victory.
  • 1970: After thirty-two months of civil war in Nigeria, Biafran secessionists surrender in January.
  • 1970: Nixon sends U.S. troops into Cambodia on 30 April. Four days later, National Guardsmen open fire on antiwar protesters at Kent State University in Ohio. By 24 June antiwar sentiment is so strong that the Senate repeals the Gulf of Tonkin resolution. On 29 June, Nixon orders troops back out of Cambodia.
  • 1970: Gamal Abdel Nasser, father of Arab nationalism and mentor of younger leaders such as Libya's Muammar al-Qaddafi, dies.
  • 1973: Signing of peace accords in Paris in January ends the Vietnam War.
  • 1975: Pol Pot's Khmer Rouge launch a campaign of genocide in Cambodia.
  • 1980: In protest of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, President Carter keeps U.S. athletes out of the Moscow Olympics.
  • 1985: A new era begins in the USSR as Konstantin Chernenko dies and is replaced by Mikhail Gorbachev, who at fiftyfour years old is the youngest Soviet leader in decades.

Event and Its Context

The Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 that established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was signed into law on 29 December 1970 by President Richard M. Nixon. To some it is known as the Williams-Steiger Occupational Safety and Health Act in honor of Congressman Harrison A. Williams Jr. of New Jersey and Senator William A. Steiger of Wisconsin, who led the fight to get the act passed from the time a similar bill was defeated in President Johnson's administration in 1968. The act has also been called the Safety Bill of Rights.

In the Introduction to Public Law 91-596, 91st Congress, S.2193, 29 December 1970—as the document is titled—under the simple heading, "An Act," it states the purpose of the bill is "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of standards developed under the Act; by assisting the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes."

The law required the formation of three different permanent agencies to carry out the mandates of the bill. The first and key agency is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the official OSHA. This agency comes under the Labor Department with an assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health as the head. OSHA sets and enforces workplace safety and health standards. When it was formed, OSHA was given two years to set up federal and consensus standards. Many standards were first adopted from respected organizations such as the American National Standards Institute, the National Fire Protection Association (popularly known as NFPA), and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. OSHA is also involved in education and outreach programs aimed at accident prevention.

The second agency is the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which was initially part of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare (HEW), a cabinet-level department created by President Eisenhower in 1953. In 1980, HEW was renamed the Department of Health and Human Services. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Department of Health and Human Services where it is responsible for research on occupational safety and health matters.

The third agency created is the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC). This independent federal agency handles disputes between the Department of Labor and employers regarding OSHA enforcement actions. OSHRC is not part of any other federal department. The purpose of this approach was to enable OSHRC to provide impartial judgments. There are two levels of adjudication. If the first level judge does not resolve the case, it is reviewed by the agency's Commissioners for final settlement.

The Long Struggle

The industrial revolution in the nineteenth century brought more than mass production of material goods. It produced misery for common workers in the form of industrial accidents. After the Civil War in the United States factories proliferated and with them chemicals, dusts, and unguarded machinery and a workforce that was generally young and inadequately trained; many were new immigrants. As the number of grisly accidents and deaths grew, so did a labor movement devoted to convincing states to pass safety and health laws. Massachusetts passed the first factory inspection law in 1877. By 1890 eight more states had factory inspections, 13 required machine guarding, and 21 had some regulations for health hazards.

The start of the twentieth century is sometimes called the Progressive Era for the group in American society who worked for a better and safer lifestyle. Newspapers and national magazines were widely circulated. In 1907 a coal mine disaster in West Virginia killed 362 miners. The tragic news was carried across the country. The public outcry led to the formation of the U.S. Bureau of Mines in 1910 to promote mine safety. News of the working hazards in the steel industry, where about 1200 out of every 10,000 workers were killed or seriously injured, led to the formation of the National Safety Council in 1915. Two years earlier the U.S. Congress created a Department of Labor with the secretary of labor specifically commissioned to report on industrial disease and accidents.

In 1933, President Franklin D. Roosevelt appointed Frances Perkins secretary of labor. She was the first woman cabinet member in the U.S. Perkins brought experience in occupational safety and health from her earlier work in New York. The U.S. Public Health Service began funding programs that were run by state health departments. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938 included provisions to bar workers under 18 from hazardous occupations. Perkins led the Department of Labor until 1945.

Unfortunately by the 1950s the federal-state partnerships were inadequate to protect workers. The secretary of labor was given power to prosecute willful violators for the workers covered under an amendment to the 1958 Workers' Compensation Act. In 1960, the Department of Labor acquired more authority and began applying occupational safety and health regulations to a wide range of industrial settings, but those efforts were not well received. Business protested that the rules were too restrictive, and there was growing resentment that the federal regulations were replacing state efforts.

By 1965 pollution in the environment had become an added public concern. The Public Health Service produced a report, "Protecting the Health of Eighty Million Americans," that cited dangers from the rapidly growing use of technology and new chemicals. The AFL-CIO labor unions called on President Johnson to support the major national occupational health and safety efforts suggested in the report. A mining tragedy again brought action. This was not as dramatic as the coal mine disaster, but it was a major public concern as it revealed the high death rate in the uranium industry. Conflicting opinions regarding safe levels of exposure and who had responsibility precipitated Secretary of Labor Willard Wirtz's announcement of standards.

At the start of 1968 President Johnson asked Congress to develop an occupational safety and health program that was essentially the same as the one that the Department of Labor had put in place. Wirtz led the first hearings and pointed out that there were two casualty lists in America: one from the Vietnam War and one from industrial accidents. The Labor Department pushed hard for legislation. The booklet "On the Job Slaughter," published by the Labor Department, featured horrendous pictures of accident victims, but unfortunately the pictures were old and the publicity backfired. The Johnson-supported legislation never came to a vote.

In 1969, in spite of considerable disagreement on who should be leading occupational safety and health measures, the legislature introduced new bills similar to the Johnson general health and safety bill. In that year it was estimated that every month while the debates of who is responsible continued, 1,100 U.S. workers would die.

Labor leader George Meany, president of AFL-CIO, supported the bill. Also, activist groups such as those led by consumer advocate Ralph Nader kept fighting for a number of causes including occupational safety. Their work is credited with contributing to the formation of OSHA. Nader's efforts also are credited as influential in the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A Rough Start in Troubled Times

OSHA was conceived and began operation in a period of political turmoil. The hopelessness of the Vietnam War drove President Johnson to not seek another term in 1969. Fortunately, the Occupational Safety and Health Act survived and became law in President Nixon's first year in office. Nixon had a goal he called New Federalism to establish new working partnerships between the federal government and the states. However, that policy was not pushed with OSHA. The spotty history of occupational health and safety in the hands of states had prompted the creation of the federal agency. The law does provide for state programs that offer workers protection "as effective as" what is provided in the federal program. Among OSHA's responsibilities is oversight of the state programs.

The first head of OSHA was George Guenther. He had been the head of a family hosiery manufacturing firm and also brought to the position experience in the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. Guenther described his philosophy for the agency as one of striving to be "responsive and reasonable." An early decision to seek voluntary compliance by companies was well received by business. Limited resources required OSHA to target investigation of catastrophic accidents and employer compliance in the most dangerous and unhealthy work environments. The first standard that was set by OSHA was for asbestos fiber exposure. In 1969, an asbestos-related illness expert, Dr. Irving J. Selikoff of Manhattan's Mount Sinai Hospital, predicted that 40 percent of the nation's 36,000 insulation installers could die of asbestos-related cancer.

In spite of Guenther's goal to be reasonable, OSHA rushed to enforce rules immediately in 1971 rather than take the two years allowed in the law, a policy that was very poorly received. Counting on states to be far more active in OSHA's goals than they were, Guenther had underestimated the need for enforcement staff. Adding to these troubles, a very damaging internal memo surfaced during the 1974 Watergate investigations. The memo indicated that Nixon was looking for ways to tailor OSHA's programs to increase business support for his reelection campaign in 1972. There is no evidence that Guenther acted on the memo, but the revelation tarnished the agency's reputation at the time.

Meany and Nader both began speaking out for the full implementation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Nader prepared a condemning report titled Occupational Epidemic. Business leaders gave mixed reviews. Small businesses opposed OSHA; large organizations mostly tolerated it, but some challenged the competence of OSHA inspectors. Bills were entered in Congress in 1972 to limit OSHA's powers, principally to exempt small employers. Several bills made their way to Nixon's desk but were stopped with a presidential veto.

Nixon replaced most of his political appointees in 1972, including Guenther. With the political problems in Washington, D.C., it is not surprising that OSHA continued to be an agency in crisis. Nixon had just appointed a new secretary of the Department of Labor when there were two serious workplace accidents: first, an explosion of a large liquefied natural gas tank in New York that killed 40, and three weeks later, a high-rise building under construction near Washington collapsed killing more than a dozen, just as John H. Stender, an official on the Boilermakers Union, was appointed the new head of OSHA.

As a labor leader, Stender seemed an ideal choice for the job, but he had little administrative experience. Under his leadership a number of new standards were put into place, including one for vinyl chloride in 1974 when an epidemic of liver cancer was discovered among workers. That same year, Senator Williams' labor subcommittee charged the agency with being "shackled by administrative ineptitude." Stender is not blamed for the crises, but the agency was being seriously criticized by labor and big business, as well as Congress, by the time he left in 1975.

OSHA Finally Gets Respect

When President Nixon resigned in August 1974 and President Gerald R. Ford came into office, OSHA was a distressed agency. Ford appointed a new secretary of labor, John Dunlop, who recognized that getting OSHA on the right track should be a priority. At about this time, Nicholas Ashford of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology published a Ford Foundation study on the politics and economics of job safety. The study concluded that occupational safety and health was too big a task for any government agency to handle alone. It required the cooperation of all involved. The study was a blueprint for reform.

An interim team of OSHA leaders directed OSHA to concentrate on the most dangerous and unhealthy workplaces, the 30 percent which reported workplace casualties. They started with focusing on foundries, metal casting, and stamping operations. The program included special training for inspectors and assistance to state governments, industry, unions, and others to get voluntary compliance.

The appointment in 1975 of Morton Corn, a professor of occupational health and chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, to lead OSHA was a major step in the right direction. Corn brought professionalism to the job. He was appreciated by business because he stressed cooperation among the groups involved in occupational safety and health. He was also soon tested on the job. On 1 January 1976 the news broke that 29 workers at a small chemical plant in Virginia had been exposed to a pesticide that sent them to the hospital with nerve damage. One worker had tried earlier to contact OSHA, but there had been no follow-up.

Corn quickly reformed the agency, hiring qualified inspectors and improving the competence of those on the job. He established a data center to provide quick technical information. He proposed a number of important standards including one for coke ovens and an improved standard for cotton dust. He worked to improve relations with NIOSH.

AFL-CIO president George Meany at one point challenged the OSHA for being slow to issue new standards on asbestos, ammonia, lead, arsenic, cotton dust, and other substances, but he was appeased with some voluntary guidelines for lead, mercury, and silica until permanent standards could be issued.

There was considerable political wrangling between President Ford and the secretary of labor, who resigned in January 1976. Corn stayed on and a new secretary was appointed. When President Carter was elected at the end of 1976, Corn was not retained, although overall OSHA was more respected for all the reform and professionalism that Corn brought to the agency during his brief tenure.

Overview of OSHA

Thirty years after OSHA was created, in the spring of 2001, the agency published a review of its three decades of progress in their newsletter JSHQ (Job Safety and Health Quarterly). The responsibilities of OSHA have increased tremendously over the years. When the agency was set up in 1971 it was responsible for 56 million workers in 3.5 million workplaces. Thirty years later OSHA had responsibility to provide guidance for the occupational safety and health of 105 million workers at 6.9 million workplaces. During those 30 years, workplace fatalities have been reduced by half, and injury and illness rates decreased by 40 percent of the 1971 rate. Particularly in light of the increases in workers and workplaces, these are significant achievements.

OSHA still considers its size as a government agency small. There were 2,370 OSHA employees in 2001 but OSHA also had 2, 948 partners in state agencies. That is an outstanding statement of cooperation that developed in spite of the agency being founded at a very troubled time in America's political history. OSHA's strategy for success has evolved through the years. In 2001 OSHA concentrated its attention on highly hazardous industries and sites with high injury rates. However, if a death occurs in a workplace anywhere, the employer must report it to OSHA within eight hours.

Education and outreach programs to promote health and safety have become an integral part of OSHA. In Des Plains, Illinois, OSHA operates its Training Institute, which was established in 1972. OSHA also encourages companies with exemplary safety and health records through the Voluntary Protection Programs. Free consultations were begun in 1975.

Most of OSHA's early standards for the safe handling of hazardous materials were adopted from respected agencies that were already involved in safety. Some standards that OSHA sites as particular milestones include: a 1978 cotton dust standard intended to prevent as many cases of "brown lung" as possible; lead standards (also in 1978); grain handling (in 1987) to protect workers at nearly 24,000 grain elevators from the dangers of explosion and fire; and in 1991, standards for occupational exposure to blood-borne pathogens to protect 5.6 million workers against AIDS, hepatitis B, and other diseases.

Key Players

Guenther, George Carpenter (1931-): Guenther was the first assistant secretary of labor to head the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. Prior to that position, he had been the director of the Bureau of Labor Standards in the Department of Labor.

Meany, George (1894-1980): Meany served as the first president of the combined unions, AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations). He was influential in the establishment of the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. He also played a major role in the AFL-CIO's international activities.

Nader, Ralph (1934-): Nader, a lawyer, has made a career of consumer advocacy. Among the groups he founded are the Center for Responsive Law and the Public Interest Research Group. Nader was influential in the establishment of both OSHA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Wirtz, William Willard (1912-): Wirtz was secretary of the Labor Department from 1962-1969. He strongly supported the first bill to establish an agency to coordinate occupational safety and health that was introduced in the Johnson administration.

See also: Department of Labor; Fair Labor Standards Act.

Bibliography

Periodicals

Fleming, Susan Hall. "OSHA at 30: Three Decades of Progress in Occupational Health and Safety." In JSHQ 12, no. 3 (spring 2001): 23-32.

"Industrial Safety: The Toll of Neglect." Time (7 February1969): 76-77.

Other

MacLaury, Judson. "The Job Safety Law of 1970: Its Passage Was Perilous." DOL History In-Depth. 2002 [cited 18 July 2002]. <http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/osha.htm>.

U.S. Department of Labor. "Dunlop/Corn Administration, 1975-1977: Reform and professionalism." DOL History In-Depth Research 3. 2002 [cited 18 July 2002]. http:// www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/osha13corn.htm .

——. "John Stender Administration, 1973-1975: OSHABecomes an Agency in Crisis." DOL History In-Depth Research 2. 2002 [cited 18 July 2002] http:// www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/osha13stender.htm .

——. "OSHA Act 1970" DOL History In-Depth Research.2002 [cited 18 July 2002]. <http://www.osha.gov/pls/oshaweb/owasrch.search_form?p_doc_type=OSHACT&p_toc_level=0&p_keyvalue= >.

——. "Overview of the Nixon-Ford Administration at the Department of Labor, 1969-1977." DOL History In-Depth Research. 1977 [cited 18 July 2002]. http:// www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/webidnixonford.htm.

Additional Resources

Other

MacLaury, Judson. "A Brief History: The U.S. Department of Labor." DOL History Annals of the Department. 2001 [cited 18 July 2002]. <http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/dolhistoxford.htm>.

U.S. Department of Labor. "Eula Bingham Administration, 1977-1981: Of Minnows, Whales and 'Common Sense'." DOL History In-Depth Research 4. 2002 [cited 18 July 2002]. <http://www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/osha13bingham.htm>.

——. "Thorne Auchter Administration, 1981-1984: 'Oh, What a (Regulatory) Relief'." DOL History In-Depth Research 5. 2002 [cited 18 July 2002]. http:// www.dol.gov/asp/programs/history/osha13auchter.htm .

—M. C. Nagel

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