Definition of OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)
What is Definition of OSHA?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, an agency of the US government under the Department of Labor with the responsibility of ensuring safety at work and healthful work environment. OSHA’s mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.
OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA’s administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.
The OSH Act covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.
OSHA definition of work environment is primarily composed of: (1) The employer’s premises, and (2) other locations where employees are engaged in work-related activities or are present as a condition of their employment. The employer’s premises encompass the total establishment.
OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information.
OSHA State Plan
State Plans are OSHA-approved workplace safety and health programs operated by individual states or U.S. territories. There are currently 22 State Plans covering both private sector and state and local government workers, and there are six State Plans covering only state and local government workers. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses and deaths.
OSHA determines which standards and requirements apply to which workplace environments and then enforces employer adherence to those standards and requirements. OSHA sets these standards and requirements based on workplace research as well as input from technical experts, employers, unions and other stakeholders. To help employers adhere to its standards and requirements, OSHA offers training and tools to educate employers and employees. OSHA is required to explain the procedures, equipment and training that employers and workers must use to reduce hazards and ensure safety measures specific to the employers’ workplace and workers’ jobs.
How to Comply with OSHA?
To comply with OSHA requirements, employers must take a number of specific actions; those include inspecting the workplace for potential hazards, eliminating or minimizing hazards, keeping records of workplace injuries and illness, training employees to recognize safety and health hazards, and educating employees on precautions to prevent accidents. OSHA also requires employees to follow rules, such as complying with all applicable OSHA standards, following OSHA safety regulations, wearing required protective equipment, reporting hazardous conditions, and reporting job-related injuries and illnesses.
OSHA also protects employees by guaranteeing a host of rights. Those include the right to have copies of OSHA regulations and request information about workplace hazards, precautions, and procedures; to request OSHA inspections if they believe hazardous conditions or violations exist in their workplace; and to refuse being exposed to the danger of death or serious physical harm. Additionally, OSHA and federal laws protect workers who complain or report possible violations to their employers, OSHA or other agencies against retaliation. Employers are prohibited from taking unfavorable personnel action against a whistleblower, and employees who feel their legal rights have been infringed upon can file a complaint to OSHA alleging employer retaliation.