The term Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) refers to a system of rules that attempt to provide employees with a workplace that is free from hazards. OSHA protects workers from conditions that could adversely affect their health by controlling exposure to chemicals, mechanical dangers, and unsanitary conditions.
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 guarantees employers will provide their employees with a workplace that is free from hazardous conditions. Most employers fall under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for assuring safe working conditions as well as training and education. The Act covers private employers in all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Generally, self-employed workers do not fall under OSHA's jurisdiction.
The provisions of OSHA also established a series of workers' rights, including:
Ultimately, employers are responsible for providing a workplace that is free from hazards. OSHA also requires employers to:
While state and federal workers do not fall directly under OSHA's jurisdiction, they are held to similar workplace standards. Finally, OSHA prohibits employers from discriminating or retaliating against an employee if they exercise their rights under the law.