Occupational Safety and Health Act

Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was enacted in 1970 to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women." The OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the federal level and provided that states could run their own safety and health programs as long as those programs were at least as effective as the federal program.  It also created the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, to review the agency’s regulations, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) to research necessary areas of focus.

Cry Wolf Quotes

The industry representatives also object to a requirement in [the Democratic] bill that employers provide ‘a place of employment which is safe and healthful’ as being ‘vague and undefined’ and possibly unconstitutional.

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From the New York Times, “Chamber Fights Job Safety Bill", 1970.

There is no reason to believe that federal controls would materially reduce the rates of such accidents or injuries. Safety authorities have estimated that three-quarters of accidents on the job result from unsafe acts rather than unsafe conditions.

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Minority report put out by the Republican members of the House Committee on Education and Labor.

[Only one percent of cotton workers] have a reaction to cotton dust. The problem is grossly exaggerated. There has not been a known death from byssinosis. There are no autopsy findings that prove the existence of byssinosis in an individual. There are subjective symptoms which the patients express that sometimes result from bronchitis, emphysema or excessive smoking.

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F. Sadler Love, Secretary-Treasurer of the American Textile Manufacturers Institute, The Washington Post.

Enforcement of Federal standards through Federal inspectors would result in the most intimate involvement of the Secretary of Labor in all operations affecting interstate commerce….easily result[ing] in blowing up the most minor grievances to very substantial proportions. A minor complaint can very well become a ‘federal case’. Provision of this kind of authority in the Federal government would tempt many an employee representative to boost his stock by calling on the federal government, since the very presence of a federal inspector could be used to demonstrate his importance and influence.

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Leo Teplow, vice-president and lead lobbyist for American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), testimony, Senate Subcommittee hearings on Labor and Public Welfare.