Occupational Safety and Health Act Essay

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Introduction Workplace safety is a commonly used phrase that many do not consider until an accident occurs within the workplace. Throughout the U.S., workplace injuries occur on a daily basis. This has been an issue in the workforce for many years and is still an ongoing issue. Are there laws that protect employees from an unsafe work environment; what is the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA); and how did the labor unions affect the law? In this paper these following questions will be addressed, as well as the background and driving force of OSHA. Definition of the OSHA Law According to the OSHA website, www.osha.gov , retrieved August 27, 2004, it states “OSHA's mission is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by…show more content…
The OSHA advisory committee proposed the act and it was passed through Congress in 1971. “Since its inception in 1971, OSHA has helped to cut workplace fatalities by more than 60 percent and occupational injury and illness rates by 40 percent.” (www.osha.gov). In effort to reduce work place injuries, OSHA has also established processes intended to shorten the rulemaking timetable and discourage legal challenges to the final standard, while at the same time providing for full public comment on the issue. This collaborative effort has been well received as in the best interest of everyone. Union Impact While the rate of workplace fatalities and occupational injuries and illnesses have dropped, the United States employment market has doubled from 56 million workers at 3.5 million worksites to more than 115 million workers at 7.1 million sites. In Fiscal Year 2004, OSHA has an authorized staff of 2,220, including 1,123 inspectors, with a budget of $457.5 million (www.osha.gov/as/opa/oshafacts/html).      Prior to President Nixon signing the Occupational Safety and Health Act into law on December 29, 1970 (Bennett, Alexander & Hartmann, p. 692), American employees had no national standards or reliable enforcement of safety in the workplace. Workers and their families could sue, but three common-law defenses provided broad relief to the employer. The first of these defenses, “contributory negligence,” purports
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