Where to begin?

Each of us will have a different immediate need when it comes to health and safety. It can often be a daunting task to go wander through the depths of the Internet to get  moving along toward the information we need right away. For many of us we just don’t know where to begin.

This page should help you get started.

Resource: Young Worker Safety and Health

Workers in the United States have the legal right to be safe and healthy at their jobs, regardless of their age. While that law is in place, statistics still say that every 9 minutes another teen gets hurt at work. Our younger sisters and brothers are getting sick or hurt on the job for a variety of reasons that run the gamut from dangerous equipment to lack of protective equipment and serious hazards.

NIOSH has created a web page specifically geared toward young worker safety. The guide and curriculum posted to the site will provide you with information that will help you get home from work as healthy as when you arrived.

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OSHA State Plans

Congress allows states to administer their own “state OSHA plan” if they want. States wanting to do this must apply to and receive approval from federal OSHA.  About half of the states have done this–a full list of those states are below.

State OSHA plans must have regulations and enforcement at least as effective as federal OSHA. In fact, some states, like Washington and California, often have stronger regulations.

Public Sector Workers

In state OSHA plans, state and local government workers must be protected just like private sector workers.  However, in most states covered by federal OSHA, public employees are not covered by OSHA.  Connecticut and New York have OSHA-approved state plans for public employee only. Other states may have their own (non-OSHA approved) health and safety program for public employees. Federal workers are covered under a program run by their agencies with some oversight by federal OSHA.

SEIU and other unions continue to lobby hard to have Congress cover all public employees under OSHA, but have not yet been successful.

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The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration came to being in 1970 when the Occupational Safety and Health Act was passed by Congress. Its mission is to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for men and women by setting and enforcing standards.”

OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA’s administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.

For a fantastic poster providing a “quick glance,” click here.

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