WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) with a yearlong celebration of past achievements, current efforts and future initiatives to protect the American workforce.

Signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon on Dec. 29, 1970, the OSH Act was created "to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women," laying the groundwork for the creation of OSHA the following spring. Following the establishment of the OSH Act, workplace fatalities were reduced by approximately 65%.

"America's workplaces are safer and healthier thanks to the Occupational Safety and Health Act and the thousands of individuals at the Labor Department who have implemented the act over the last 50 years," U.S. Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia said. "The OSH Act is a cornerstone of worker protection in our country, and thanks to OSHA's work, countless American workers have gotten home safely to their families each day."

From the adoption of the first national health standard, to the affirmation of the imminent danger provisions and whistleblower protection laws, to the creation of training institutes and education grants, OSHA remains focused on its mission to safeguard the health and safety of the American worker. Readers can also subscribe to OSHA's bi-monthly QuickTakes newsletter for the latest news and information regarding OSHA's efforts to protect the American workforce. 

"The creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration made real, demonstrable improvement in worker safety in the United States," said Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor of Occupational Safety and Health Loren Sweatt. "OSHA looks to continue to reduce occupational hazards and improve worker health. I am proud of the agency's half century of accomplishments and look forward to working with everyone dedicated to the agency's mission."

Roofing contractors have benefited from OSHA’s training courses, with many contractors RC has profiled over the years noting that their employees take the OSHA 10-hour training to ensure jobs are competed safely.

Throughout its history, OSHA has inspected and cited construction industry workers, including roofing contractors, for fall protection violations, which it claims has contributed to the decline in fatalities. Falls continue to be one of OSHA’s top most cited violations and safety hazards.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the overall number of fatal falls, slips and trips has recently decreased. The BLS recorded 791 incidents of fatal falls in 2018, a decrease of 11% from 2017, which had a series high of 887 fatal falls. This decrease is due to a 14% drop in falls to a lower level when compared to 2017 (615 to 713).

“OSHA will continue to use BLS data for enforcement targeting within its jurisdiction to help prevent tragedies,” said Sweatt.