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November 3, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Law > OSH Act   

The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act

 Frequently Asked Questions


The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was enacted to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women." The OSH Act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) at the federal level and provided that states could run their own safety and health programs as long as those programs were at least as effective as the federal program. Enforcement and administration of the OSH Act in states under federal jurisdiction is handled primarily by OSHA. Safety and health standards related to field sanitation and certain temporary labor camps in the agriculture industry are enforced by the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division (WHD) in states under federal jurisdiction.

If a worksite is located in a state plan state, additional safety and health requirements may apply.






  • Poster Requirement - Employers subject to the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act are required to post a notice notifying employees of the protections of the Act.


Every employer covered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) who has more than 10 employees, except for employers in certain low-hazard industries in the retail, finance, insurance, real estate, and service sectors, must maintain specific records of job related injuries and illnesses.

The OSHA Form 300 is an injury/illness log, with a separate line entry for each recordable injury or illness. Such events include work related deaths, injuries, and illnesses other than minor injuries that require only first aid treatment and that do not involve medical treatment, loss of consciousness, restriction of work, or transfer to another job. Each year, the employer must conspicuously post in the workplace an OSHA Form 300A, which includes a summary of the previous year's work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers must also record on the OSHA Form 301 individual incident reports that provide added detail about each specific recordable injury or illness. OSHA Web page on Recordkeeping.


  • The Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970
  • 29 CFR Parts 70 to 2400 - Regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cover a broad array of subjects, including: procedures for state agreements; standards applicable to specific industries, such as shipyards, marine terminals, and agriculture; recording and reporting occupational injuries and illness; safety standards; health standards; and criteria for assessment of penalties.



*Pursuant to the U.S. Department of Labor's Confidentiality Protocol for Compliance Assistance Inquiries, information provided by a telephone caller will be kept confidential within the bounds of the law. Compliance assistance inquiries will not trigger an inspection, audit, investigation, etc.

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