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Understanding the Goal of OSHA and What It Means for Your Program

Posted by EHS Insight Resources on July 26, 2021 at 4:37 PM

The goal of OSHA is not to be the bane of your existence (even if it feels that way). OSHA’s goal is the same as any EHS team: to ensure the best possible safety outcome for your workers. Here’s a closer look at what OSHA’s goal really is – and what it means for your business.

The Basics of OSHA and Its Authority

OSHA is a department within the Department of Labor, administered by the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA was created as a result of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and derives its powers directly from the OSH Act.

Under this authority, OSHA covers most private sector employees and some public sector employees in all 50 states and U.S. territories (District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands). The only exceptions are states with state OSHA plans, which are approved by federal OSHA.

The Goal of OSHA

The goal of the OSH Act is stated in its first sentence, “To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging 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.”

In plain English? The goal of the OSH Act is to provide safe and healthy working environments for American workers.

OSHA derives its authority and duties directly from the OSH Act, so its goal is aligned with the OSH Act’s language. As stated by OSHA itself, the administration’s mission is to, “…ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

What That Means for Your Business

So, what does that mean for little old you?

Under OSHA’s authority (specifically, the OSH Act General Duty Clause), each employer is responsible for providing a workplace reasonably free of recognized hazards which are causing or are likely to cause serious injury or death. In plain English: the onus is on you to keep your workplace safe and comply with OSHA regulations.

OSHA’s job is to make sure you follow through–no matter how often the regulations change.

Navigating Your Regulatory Requirements

In short, the goal of OSHA is not to be a thorn in your side. Even so, with the frequency of regulatory updates, it often feels that way. Which is when it pays to invest in a compliance system that has your back.

That’s where our compliance obligations software can help, with automatic updates to regulatory requirements and real-time management tools so that you can take action as soon as you need to. So if you’re ready to take a smarter approach to compliance, get in touch to learn how our software can help.

Topics: OSHA, Workplace Health and Safety, Safety Management, Safety Culture

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