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Safety First

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to help employers and employees reduce injuries, illnesses and deaths on the job in America. Since then, workplace fatalities have been cut by more than 60 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined 40 percent.  OSHA provides national leadership in occupational safety and health. The agency seeks to find and share the most effective ways to help prevent worker fatalities, and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

When employees stay whole and healthy, businesses also benefit. They experience lower workers' compensation insurance costs, reduced medical expenditures, decreased payout for return-to-work programs, fewer faulty products, and lower costs for job accommodations for injured workers. There are also indirect benefits such as increased productivity, lower costs for training replacement workers and decreased costs for overtime.

OSHA's Role

Significant hazards and unsafe conditions still exist in U.S. workplaces. The following are some riveting statistics:

  • Nearly 5,200 Americans die from workplace injuries in the private sector;
  • As many as 50,000 employees die from illnesses in which workplace exposures were a contributing factor;
  • Nearly 4.3 million people suffer non-fatal workplace injuries and illnesses;
  • The cost of occupational injuries and illnesses totals more than $156 billion.

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