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

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.

[I]n striving to improve safety and healthful conditions in the workplace it is prudent—and it will be productive—to build upon the foundations of successful experiences of American industry working in partnership with State and private agencies. We seriously question whether certain of the measures embodied in the proposed legislation will not encumber rather than enhance progress in occupational safety and health.

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John O. Logan, Universal Oil Products Company and Retiring Chairman, Board of Directors, Manufacturing Chemists Association. Testimony, Senate Subcommittee on Labor and Public Welfare.

Each employee must be motivated through training, education, by supervision to understand and to want to perform work safely. This desire must come from within—it cannot be imposed through the threat of civil or criminal sanctions against the employer. NAM believes that…the Secretary of Labor should not be given such unprecedented powers as proposed in this bill.

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Paul R. Hafer, National Association of Manufacturers, Testimony, Senate Subcommittee on Labor and Public Welfare.

Under the [Democratic] bill, according to the [Chamber], ‘employers would be treated worse than criminals,’ and there would be ‘penalties on the innocent’

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The New York Times