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OSHA’s Mission: Why OSHA Exists?

What is the mission of OSHA? What is its importance?

OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) exists for workers’ safety. The mission or purpose of OSHA is to ensure that workers work in safe and healthful working conditions. It sets and enforces standards to provide men and women the training, outreach, education and assistance required to keep them safe and healthy at their jobs. OSHA was created by the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 by the Congress. In its more than 40 years of existence, it has focused on several things and achieved several small and big changes. From labor conditions to machine safety, OSHA’s intervention has changed several things.  In several terms it has proved to be a highly effective organization.

However, there are also critics of OSHA and  on several points it has faced heavy criticism for its ineffectiveness. Despite all the criticism OSHA has solved an  important purpose. Without its existence, the situation would have been worse. OSHA has focused on several areas in health and safety. It has eliminated several important barriers too. By ensuring that workers are provided safe working conditions, it has also encouraged industrial performance.  After all it has benefited none else but the companies whom it has encouraged to focus on employees. Industrial performance depends on the human resources and without their safety, good performance is not possible. In this way, OSHA has shifted the focus on employer-employee relationships.

OSHA for Workers’ SAFETY

OSHA’s focus is nearly on every area and research shows that it has brought improvement to the industry working conditions. Improved working conditions affect the performance of the labor force. High employee morale is key to their performance and growth. If employees’ morale is low then productivity is significantly affected. Not just this, it has reduced the number of accidents at workplace too. Workplace safety regulations are essential because the harm that can result from neglecting these issues is not difficult to imagine. It does not just hurt the workers’ health and motivation but also operational and financial performance. If the real data for workplace injuries is assessed anyone can easily recognize that  without an agency like OSHA things can go horribly wrong. The burden on the shoulders of the employees will be higher which is because workplace injuries always result in high costs.

Workplace injuries and deaths can result in heavy financial burden and there are both tangible and intangible costs related with them. In history, there have been several such cases which still haunt people’s memories. It is always the employees who get to be on the receiving end. So, in order to make the employers care for the workforce it is essential that an agency like OSHA exists. It ensures compliance through its guidelines and through vigilance. While some employers care for their employees out of motivation, for the others it is OSHA’s whip that works. Not all employers feel motivated to care for their employees. It becomes OSHA’s duty to make such  employers take the required steps towards employees safety and protection. It is essential for the employers to provided the workers with safe working conditions as well as personal protective equipment.

From safety equipment to noise levels, OSHA ensures that the employers remain compliant with the industry guidelines in all aspects of their business operations. OSHA ensures workplace safety by deterring the employers from adopting unsafe practices.  Government regulation is mostly more effective than the other kinds of regulation. While OSHA has done a lot to stop unsafe practices at the workplace there is still a long way to go. Some of the things that  need more  focus from OSHA are criminal penalties and  whistle-blower protections. However, so that it can grow its outreach, it is essential that its funding is raised. Funding is a critical factor that  limits its reach and effectiveness. OSHA has been successful to a large extent but that  is not  sufficient. A lot more is to be done and  more funds and stronger protections can only work to improve the situation. All may not be well with OSHA and still it has achieved some critical milestones that would not have been possible without its existence.

Sources:  https://www.osha.gov/about.html