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Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is a branch of the U.S. Department of Labor established by Congress under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 in order to ensure that employers provide a safe and healthy workplace environment for their employees. They accomplish this goal by setting and enforcing standards, and providing education and training to employers and workers.

Employees in both the private sector and public sector are protected by OSHA regulations. The agency has jurisdiction in all 50 states and certain other U.S. territories, such as Washington DC and Puerto Rico. 22 states and territories have their own individual state-operated OSHA programs.

Among other regulations, OSHA has issued the Process Safety Management of Highly Hazardous Chemicals standard (29 CFR 1910.119). This regulation contains requirements for the management of hazards associated with processes using highly hazardous chemicals. Among other things, it requires operators to keep written safety procedures when dealing with dangerous chemicals. It also requires they create and implement an action plan in case of emergencies.

Another one of their more prominent regulations is the OSHA National Emphasis Program, or NEP. The OSHA National Emphasis Program is a series of programs that was put in place by OSHA in order to reduce or eliminate workplace hazards that are caused by, or associated with, specific issues, chemicals, processes, or industries. The program has been implemented in all states and territories where OSHA has direct jurisdiction.

One of the final, yet still most important protections guaranteed by OSHA are their protections for whistleblowers. OSHA protects whistleblowers from retaliation from their employees for reporting unsafe workplace environments. This is an important protection, because otherwise it’s unlikely employees would report unsafe working conditions and continue to expose themselves to unnecessary risks.

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