The Occupational Safety and Health Act
The federal Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law by President Nixon in 1970. It was written in response to growing public concern about toxic chemicals, dangerous machinery, and other common workplace hazards. Before OSHA was signed, serious workplace injuries were a very widespread problem, and injured workers had little legal recourse.
Required Safety Measures
OSHA applies to private businesses with 15 or more full time employees. Many states, including North Carolina, have their own workplace safety legislation with extra regulations. For example, North Carolina applies OSHA’s rules to most businesses with 3 or more workers, as well as state government agencies.
All business and agencies that fall under OSHA’s scope must:
- Provide a reasonably safe workplace environment
- Give employees adequate safety equipment and training
- Fully inform employees about toxin levels and other hazards
- Allow employees full access to their medical information
- Develop emergency plans and educate workers about them
Along with spelling out safety requirements, the Act also founded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This is the wing of the Department of Labor in charge of investigating safety violations and enforcing the law. North Carolina is one of 22 states that runs its own Occupational Safety and Health Administration. State OSHAs may add to federal laws, but not contradict them.
If an investigation shows poor safety regulations in a workplace, OSHA may enforce the law by imposing a fine. In extreme cases they may be able to file criminal charges, but this has only happened a dozen times since the Administration was founded. Anyone whose workplace is failing to meet safety standards should contact a Raleigh workplace safety attorney to make sure their rights are protected.
If you have been injured on the job due to safety violations, we can help. Contact Raleigh worker safety lawyers Law Office of Sam Scudder by calling (252) 222-0227.