What is the 'Occupational Safety And Health Act '

The Occupational Safety and Health Act is a law passed in 1970 to encourage safer workplace conditions in the United States. The Occupational Safety and Health Act established the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to set standards and perform inspections at job sites. In some parts of the country, an OSHA-approved state agency helps enforce job safety standards, which must be at least as stringent as federal guidelines.

BREAKING DOWN 'Occupational Safety And Health Act '

The 1970 legislation gave the new Occupational Safety and Health Administration the authority to create industry-specific guidelines. However, the act also outlined a “general duty” clause, which stipulates that an employer must provide an environment “free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.”

The Occupational Safety and Health Act applies to most private and public employers. Individuals not protected by the law include self-employed individuals, workers on small family farms and those working in an industry regulated by a separate federal agency.

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