Start of Main Content

Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

What is the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)?

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a United States federal organization that is part of the Department of Labor and is responsible for the protection of worker health and safety. Congress created OSHA in 1971 to ensure that workers have safe and healthy working conditions by enforcing workplace standards and laws, as well as providing outreach, training, assistance, and education.

Since its creation, the work completed by OSHA has reduced the work-fatality rate by more than half and significantly reduced overall illness and injury rates.

OSHA uses research and input from employers, unions, and experts to determine the requirements and standards applicable to each type of workplace environment. They then offer training and tools that educate employees and employers.

OSHA also handles the enforcement of businesses to these regulations, with the ability to issue fines for violations.

How does OSHA help the healthcare field?

Those who work in the healthcare field have their own set of hazards that they face while at work, such as bloodborne pathogens, potential chemical exposures, respiratory hazards, and workplace violence. In fact, the healthcare industry has one of the highest rates of work-related injuries.

OSHA helps inform and train hospital employees about correct practices to minimize harm and illness risk. Additionally, since employees and patients work closely together, lessening workplace injuries for employees is also beneficial for patients since their healthcare providers are in a better space to care for them.

OSHA has also created the Hospitals eTool, which helps hospitals identify and assess the safety and health needs of the workplace, enhance safe patient handling and violence prevention, and implement health and safety management systems.