The OSH Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, often referred to as the OSH Act (not OSHA Act) was signed into law on December 29, 1970, and established the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as the regulatory agency in charge of protecting the workforce of America (OSHA, 1970).

However, people often wonder, why was OSHA needed and started?

Well in the ‘60s the United States was facing serious concerns, including civil rights, women’s rights, mounting environmental problems, and at the same time occupational injuries, illnesses, and fatalities were on the rise. In fact, disabling injuries increased by 20% during the ’60s and an average of 14,000 workers were dying each year (OSHA, 2001). The table below helps to put these numbers into perspective.

For the Working Hours, a typical employee working 40 hours per week, there would be an average of 6.73 workers dying EVERY WORKING HOUR!




OSHA. (1970). OSH Act of 1970.

OSHA. (2001). OSHA’s 30th Anniversary.