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What is OSHA?

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created a new era for the modern Mississippi workplace. The purpose of the act was to make American workplaces safer. The goal was to prevent workers from being killed or seriously injured while at work. To execute this function, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, was created. OSHA both creates and enforces all the protective workplace safety and health standards. This administration also creates training and provides assistance to workers and employers.

In addition to creating OSHA, the 1970 Act also gave workers some specific rights in the workplace. For example, any worker can ask OSHA to conduct an inspection of their workplace. This and other workers' rights should be utilized by workers without any retaliation or discrimination from their boss or company.

The 1970 Act also gave workers the right to receive key information about their work environment. For example, workers should be informed of potential hazards, ways to prevent them and any OSHA standards that apply. The training must be given in a language that the worker understands. Any tests that are administered to determine the hazards in a workplace should be made available to any worker when requested. Additionally, if an injury occurs, a worker has a right to review records of work-related injuries and illnesses.

OSHA covers both private and public sector employees. Federal OSHA covers federal government employees. Many private sector employees, including those in Mississippi, are covered by OSHA through OSHA-approved state programs, which, at a minimum, must be as effective as the Federal OSHA program.

Source: OSHA.gov, "You have the right to a safe workplace," accessed on Dec. 15, 2014

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