We felt it would make sense to look back at OSHA's journey over the past 40- 50 years. MCR Safety's journey began more than 40 years ago too, and it parallels the history of OSHA. Over that time frame, OSHA has advanced safety across the country that genuinely makes a difference in the workplace and workers.
The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is to assure the safety and health of America's workers by setting and enforcing standards, providing training, outreach, and education, establishing partnerships, and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.
OSHA History Highlights
Here's a quick snapshot of the critical moments in OSHA history.
- 1968 - President Lyndon Johnson's Labor Department proposed legislation to develop a federal regulatory program for workplace safety.
- 1970 - In December, President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Act.
- 1971 - Just five months later, the first OSHA standards were issued for safety and health protection.
- 1972 - In May, the OSHA Training Institute was established to train inspectors and inform the public. The first standard was issued to address asbestos, focused on protecting workers from lung cancer, asbestos, and mesothelioma in June. In November, construction safety standards were issued.
- 1974 - The vinyl chloride standard was issued to address the dangers of liver cancer due to worker exposure and 14 other cancer-causing substances.
- 1977 - The Standards Deletion Project is launched to simplify or delete more than 1,000 safety standards. They changed more than 900 standards as a result.
- 1978 - The cotton dust standard was issued, protecting textile workers from "brown lung". In addition, a lead standard is issued.
- 1980 - OSHA coverage extended to federal workers.
- 1982 - The Voluntary Protection Program recognizes workplaces with exemplary health and safety management systems.
- 1986 - Ground-fault circuit interrupter standard is issued to protect construction workers.
- 1987 - The benzene standard was issued, a toxic chemical that causes leukemia.
- 1989 - Excavation and trenching operations standard required shoring and escape ladders on construction projects.
- 1994 -OSHA strengthened rules requiring protection for construction workers, including safety harnesses and guardrails.
- 1996 - Construction scaffold safety standard was issued.
- 2001 - Steel erection standard was issued to protect construction workers.
- 2004 - The OSHA National Emergency Plan was issued, establishing agency policies during national emergencies.
- 2007 - OSHA confirms that employers must pay for required personal protective equipment (PPE) such as protective gloves and earplugs.
- 2010 - Cranes and derricks standard issued, replacing a 40-year old rule.
- 2012 - Revises Hazard Communication Standard to protect workers from dangerous chemicals and align standards with the United Nations' Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals.
- 2014 - Revised the 40-year-old construction standard for electric power generation, transmission, and distribution.
- 2016 - Updates its rule on general industry walking-working surfaces standards for using personal fall protection systems.
So many of these things we've come to accept as everyday practice. Without looking back, we don't realize how many formal regulations are in place to protect workers. Plus, it's a growing list of protections and not without revision when necessary to either improve protections or streamline rules.
If you're better at videos than blog posts, the UFCW has posted a couple of videos that you may find of interest. The first video recognized the 40th Anniversary of OSHA in 2011. The second one, called "Can't Take No More," was issued by OSHA in 1980 with narration by Studs Terkel. It chronicles the development of workplace safety. You'll find both on the United Food and Commercial Workers Safety and Health website.
Our Favorite OHSA Regulation
All of the OHSA regulations exist to protect workers from hazards in the workplace. Our specialty is Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). OHSA Regulation 1910.132 covers protective equipment for eyes, face, head, and extremities, including protective clothing, respiratory devices, as well as protective shields and barriers. That protection needs to address exposure to mechanical, chemical, environmental, and radiological hazards or irritants. Note too that regulation 1910.132(h)(1) specifies that, with few exceptions, the employer needs to provide the required PPE at no cost to their employees.
We've Got You Covered.
When it comes to personal protective equipment and complying with OSHA regulations, we've got you covered. Just like OSHA, we have over 40 years of experience protecting workers.