About OSHA

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, OSHA's role is to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health. For more information, visit www.osha.gov.


OSHA's Services

OSHA and its state partners have approximately 2100 inspectors, plus complaint discrimination investigators, engineers, physicians, educators, standards writers, and other technical and support personnel spread over more than 200 offices throughout the country. This staff establishes protective standards, enforces those standards, and reaches out to employers and employees through technical assistance and consultation programs.





Occupational Safety and Health Administration

Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

In 1970, the Act was passed because:

14,000 work related deaths
2.5 Million workers were disabled
300,000 work related illnesses

In 2007, the Act is strictly enforced because:

6,000 work related deaths
50,000 deaths from work related illnesses
Injuries cost business over $125 Billion

*Each year there are 5.7 Million non-fatal workplace injuries



As defined by the Act, an employer is any person engaged in a business affecting the commerce who has employees.

The Act covers all private sector employees



Self-employed with no employees

Farms at which only immediate members of family are employed.



Employers of 11 or more employees must maintain records of occupational injuries and illness.


ALL employers must display the OSHA poster.


ALL employers must, within 8 hours, report any fatality and/or hospitalization of 3 or more employees. You can call OSHA at 800-321-OSHA.



Under the Act, “upon presenting appropriate credentials to the owner, operator or agent in charge,” an OSHA Compliance Officer is authorized to:

-Enter without delay where work is performed by an employee of an employer.

-Inspect and investigate at any reasonable time.

-Question privately any employee.

If an employer refuses to admit or attempts to interfere, the Act permits legal action


-Imminent Danger

-Catastrophes and Fatal Accidents


-Programmed or Random



Other than Serious: 

  A violation that has a direct relationship to safety & health, but probably would not cause serious injury or death.  A proposed penalty up to $7,000 for each violation.


  A violation that could cause serious injury or death.  A mandatory penalty up to $7,000 for each violation.

Willful Violation:

  A violation that the employer knowingly commits with plain indifference to the law.  A mandatory penalty up to $70,000 with a minimum of $5,000 for each violation.

  In addition to the penalty, if the willful violation resulted in death, a court-imposed fine of $250,000 for an individual and/or $500,000 for a corporation AND up to six months in jail, or both, may be imposed.

Repeat Violation:

  A violation that the company has been previously cited before for a similar violation.  A mandatory penalty up to $70,000 for each violation.

Failure to Abate:

  A violation that the employer failed to correct a prior violation.  This will usually result in repeat and/or willful violation if injury occurs.  A penalty up to $7,000 for each day the violation continues.

Additional Violations:

  Falsifying records, reports or applications.  A fine of $10,000 and up to 6 months in jail, or both.

  Posting requirements.  A fine of up to $7,000

  Assaulting, resisting, opposing or interfering with a compliance officer while performing their duties is punishable by a fine of up to $5,000 and up to 3 years in prison.