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May 4, 2011

Weekly Wednesday Acronym – OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by Congress to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards by providing training, outreach, education, and assistance. 

OSHA is part of the DOL, whose administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.  OSHA’s jurisdiction covers private sector employers and assists Federal Agency Programs.

When we think of OSHA, we often think of penalties and violations.  OSHA’s goal is to provide training and awareness to reduce and eliminate the need for penalties and violations.  Although a large part of their organization covers inspections, which are conducted without advance notice by highly-trained compliance officers, OSHA offers much more than that. 

When disaster strikes, OSHA assists in providing information to help workers stay safe during cleanup efforts.  With the recent sweep of tornadoes through the Southern United States into New York, many cleanup workers are facing floodwater, mold, animals and insects, and contaminated water.  OSHA offers tips and factsheets on its website at www.osha.gov/OshDoc/flood-tornado-recovery.html#guides to help employers protect disaster site workers.   The fact sheets cover topics such as chain saw safety, heat stress, working safely around electricity, along with activity sheets listing possible hazards that may be encountered.   Take a look at this website – there is an abundance of topics covered!

It is through OSHA’s efforts that many workplaces operate safe and healthful working conditions.  So we should think of OSHA as our friend, keeping our workplaces and employees safe!!

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