OSHA laws & safety compliance analysis

OSHA : What you need to know

The OSH Act was designed to “assure, as far as possible, every working man and woman in the nation safe working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” It attempts to achieve this end through a set of uniform national standards for workplace safety and health practices throughout the country.

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OSHA, a regulatory agency within the U.S. Department of Labor, was given the power by Congress to administer and enforce the standards for private sector workplaces (private businesses and nonprofit organizations) and make surprise inspections to ensure that employers adhere to the regulations of occupational safety and health established by the OSH Act.


OSHA is a federal agency that reports to the Secretary of the Department of Labor. The head of OSHA, the Assistant Secretary, is appointed by the president and approved by the U.S. Senate. OSHA’s program offices include:

  • Administrative
  • Enforcement
  • Construction
  • Cooperative and State Programs
  • Standards and Guidance
  • Technical Support and Emergency Management
  • Whistleblower Protection
Regional and Area Offices

OSHA has 10 regional offices, and one or more area offices in each state or territory. Each regional office serves from four to eight states and/or territories.


The OSH Act governs occupational safety and health in most private sector workplaces (private businesses and nonprofit organizations), covering over 7 million worksites across the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state plan. The law applies to all private sector workplaces and activities involved in interstate commerce, regardless of the number of employees; in general industry, construction, ...

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