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While employees and workers are a business’s greatest asset, until the ’70s, worker safety was not standardized or monitored. In 1970, Congress was alarmed by unsettling annual statistics about workplace safety and health:

  • Over 14,000 employees died on the job
  • 2.5 million workers were disabled from work-related accidents
  • 300,000 contracted occupational diseases and illnesses

To create standardization and accountability, Congress passed an act to improve work-related safety and health. To manage this program, OSHA came into existence. We’ll explain what OSHA is, what OSHA stands for, and what they do to improve America’s safety and health.

What does OSHA Mean?

Created by Congress in 1971 as part of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) manages, administrates, and protects worker health and safety in the United States.

OSHA’s goal is to reduce work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Since its inception, OSHA has dramatically reduced the death and injury rates by half through educating and enforcing workplace standards and laws.

Related Link: What Does It Mean to be OSHA Compliant (During COVID-19)?

What does OSHA Do?

To ensure the safety of American employees, OSHA is responsible for:

Setting Standards and Requirements

OSHA is responsible for setting standards and requirements that apply to specific workplace environments. To create these standards, OSHA researches and receives technical advice from experts, unions, employers, and other stakeholders.

Enforcing Standards and Requirements

To enforce standards and safety-related requirements, OSHA provides awareness training, but they can also issue fines to violators. And they can recommend criminal prosecution if there is gross negligence or blatant disregard which results in injury or death.

Investigating Job-Related Injuries, Illnesses, and Deaths

If an injury, illness, or death happens on the job, OSHA is responsible for investigating possible causes. They must determine whether safety regulations were followed or not. Failure to comply can result in hefty fines or criminal prosecution.

Creating Training and Education Tools for Employers

To ensure employers follow standards and regulations, OSHA creates training materials and tools to educate employers and employees of all the laws. These training tools cover equipment, procedures, and worker training that involve hazardous environments or machinery.

Do you need help training your employees on OSHA standards and regulations? Learn more about Arrow Up’s comprehensive online training for OSHA-required Accident Prevention.

Related Link: How to Properly Train and Keep Employees Safe During COVID-19

OSHA enforces strict rules and regulations to keep workers safe.

OSHA Programs

Under OSHA, several federal programs help protect and enforce Occupational Safety and Health standards for businesses, labor groups, and other organizations. These programs are:


Alliance develops collaborative working relationships with organizations that are committed to safety and health in the workplace. These organizations are:

  • Labor unions
  • Educational institutions
  • Community groups
  • Faith-based groups
  • Government agencies
  • Professional associations

These groups help promote OSHA’s initiatives and resources, and they often help educate workers and employers about their responsibilities and rights.

OSHA Strategic Partnership Program (OSPP)

OSPP facilitates OSHA opportunities to create agreements with employers, associations, and labor organizations to eliminate hazards and improve workplace safety. As part of the partnership, everyone works to establish strategies and goals for improving safety and health.

Voluntary Protection Program (VPP)

VPP recognizes employers in the private sector and federal agencies who implement and maintain injury and illness rates that fall below the national averages for their industries.

To be recognized as part of the VPP, employers must apply to be evaluated for qualification. VPP must reevaluate the business or agency every three to five years to remain in the program.

OSHA Challenge

The OSHA Challenge Program helps employers and workers develop and improve their safety and health management programs. OSHA Challenge provides mentoring, training, and progress tracking to create effective safety and health management programs.


Safety and Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP) acknowledges small businesses that operate exceptional safety and health programs after using the OSHA On-Site Consultation Program. If you are accepted into SHARP, your small business is an example of proper worksite safety and health.

Who Does OSHA Report To?

The head administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health. They report to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the Cabinet of the United States. The Assistant Secretary accounts for all injuries, illnesses, and deaths that are job-related within the United States.

OSHA protects employees in the construction industry.

Who is Covered by OSHA?

OSHA covers all fifty states of the United States and includes all US territories and jurisdictions as a national plan. Some states may opt to have their own occupational safety and health regulatory programs, but these programs must comply with the federal OSHA regulations.

OSHA coverage only applies to specific industries in the public and private sectors. OSHA coverage applies to most employers and their employees in the private sector. To learn if your industry is covered, contact the OSHA’s Regional and Area Offices.

OSHA focuses their standards and regulations on more hazardous industries, such as:

  • Agriculture
  • Construction
  • Federal Agencies
  • Health Care
  • Maritime
  • Oil and Gas

OSHA does not cover state and local government agencies. These agencies already have OSH Act protections from their state programs. OSHA also does not protect self-employed professionals or the immediate members of farm families who do not employ non-family employees.

OSHA Safeguards US Citizens from Work-Related Injuries, Illnesses, and Death

Since its inception, OSHA has reduced the number of injuries, illnesses, and deaths that are work-related by providing strict guidelines, standards, training, and education. As more and more industries strive to be compliant, employees can work in a hazard-free environment.

Arrow Up provides innovative online training for safety and compliance programs for your employees. Arrow Up’s comprehensive OSHA-Required Accident Prevention program or COVID-19 safety training and accountability tools facilitate faster reopening by helping you follow the strict safety operation protocols.

Would you like a convenient and comprehensive online safety and compliance program for your business? Contact Arrow Up about their OSHA-Required Accident Prevention program or COVID-19 Safety program.

Related Link: Empathy at Work During COVID-19: The Ultimate Guide