OSHA celebrates 50 years

By Alyssa Asaro11 January 2022

In a new video, OSHA highlights its accomplishments and major events that have shaped the agency over the last five decades

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has released a video that commemorates the Administration’s 50 years in existence.

In “OSHA The First Fifty Years: Protecting America’s Workforce,” Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh, Assistant Secretary for Occupational Safety and Health Douglas Parker and past agency assistant secretaries discuss pivotal moments and the agency’s past and continued mission to “ensure safe and healthful working 

conditions for workers by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”

On December 29, 1970, The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law establishing new federal agency to set and enforce workplace safety and health protections for American workers. And on April 28, 1971, OSHA opened its doors.

Photo credit: Adobe Stock

Highlights include:

  • The agency’s first standard provided worker protections from asbestos. Health standards for lead, carcinogens and cotton dust, as well as construction safety standards, followed in its first decade.
  • In its second decade, OSHA issued standards giving workers the right to know which chemicals they may be exposed to. The agency also established its first cooperative program, the Voluntary Protection Program.
  • The 1990s brought a Chemical Process Safety Management standard to protect workers from the risk of chemical fires and explosions. It addressed falls, blood borne pathogens and toxic substances.
  • In the 2010s, OSHA launched initiatives to address fall prevention, youth safety, heat illness, trench safety and suicide prevention.
  • In 2020, OSHA launched a historic response to protect workers during the Covid-19 Work safety is as important now as ever with workers being exposed to the virus on the job.

To view the video, or to learn more about OSHA, visit the dedicated website here.

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