skip navigational linksDOL Seal - Link to DOL Home Page
Photos representing the workforce - Digital Imagery© copyright 2001 PhotoDisc, Inc.
November 4, 2008    DOL Home > Compliance Assistance > By Topic > Safety and Health >
Occupational Safety and Health

Safety and Health in the Workplace:

Occupational Safety and Health

 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. Federal and state safety personnel work to ensure worker safety and health through worksite enforcement, education and compliance assistance, and cooperative and voluntary programs. 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's (DOL) 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.



  • Safety and Health Topics - Provides links to specific compliance information on various safety and health issues (e.g., ergonomics, hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, asbestos, and workplace violence).

  • Cooperative Programs - Describes several available cooperative programs designed to enhance worksite safety and health.




Employers subject to the OSH Act are required to post a notice notifying employees of the protections of the Act. Poster Requirement.


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 a Form 300A, which includes a summary of the previous year's work-related injuries and illnesses. Employers must also record individual incident reports that provide added detail about each specific recordable injury or illness. OSHA Web page on Recordkeeping.


  • 29 CFR Parts 70 to 2400 - Regulations issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) that 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.



  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact OSHA
    Tel.: 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • Employment Standards Administration (ESA)
    Wage and Hour Division
    200 Constitution Avenue, NW
    Room S-3502
    Washington, DC 20210
    Contact WHD
    Tel: 1-866-4USWAGE (1-866-487-9243)
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627
    Local Offices

  • For questions on other DOL laws,
    please call DOL's Toll-Free Help Line at 1-866-4-USA-DOL. Live assistance is available in English and Spanish, Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Additional service is available in more than 140 languages through a translation service.
    Tel: 1-866-4-USA-DOL
    TTY: 1-877-889-5627

*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.

Phone Numbers