An understanding of OSHA Standards

OSHA Standards are set out by Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is an agency of the US federal administration that is tasked with the responsibility of setting out these standards for ensuring safety at various kinds of workplaces.

The need for the establishment of OSHA standards

OSHA standards came into existence as a result of the federal government's desire and willingness to ensure a safer workplace for Americans. The OSHA was set up as an agency to study workplaces of all types across the US and set standards to ensure safety at all levels.

The passing into law of the OSHA under the Occupational Safety and Health Act was the culmination of this thinking. OSHA was signed into law by President Richard Nixon in December 1970. The core mission of OSHA, as set out by the Act is to "assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance". (

OSHA standards apply to whom all?

According to this law, OSHA standards apply to almost all descriptions of private sector employers, as well as their workers. OSHA standards also apply a few public sector employers and workers employed in any of the 50 States of the US, as well as certain territories and jurisdictions that fall under federal authority. The District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act are the jurisdictions covered by this law.

Agricultural farm employers immediate family members and self-employed people constitute the categories of employees not covered by OSHA standards. Similarly, a few kinds of workplaces that are governed by other federal safety laws, such as the Department of Energy, the Coast Guard and Mine Safety and Health Administration are exempt from inclusion into OSHA standards.

What are the areas in which OSHA standards are applied?

OSHA standards are implemented in a number of kinds of workplaces. The OSHA standards now apply to nearly every conceivable area of workplace and activity. Yet, the fact that OSHA standards continue to identify new areas to be included under them is proof of the fact that OSHA standards apply universally across workplaces of all sectors and industries. Since 2001, OSHA standards have been expanded to include many new areas, prominent among which are standards on exit routes, fire protection in shipyards, cranes and derricks in construction, and so on.