Timeline chronicles 40 years of OSHA

Washington – In celebration of its 40-year anniversary, OSHA on Feb. 15 posted a timeline of the agency’s history.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act went into effect April 28, 1971. Since then, workplace fatalities have decreased approximately 65 percent even though employment has almost doubled, according to OSHA. The rate of reported serious workplace injuries and illnesses also has fallen from 11 per 100 workers in 1972 to 3.6 per 100 workers in 2009.

Milestones include establishing the OSHA Training Institute in 1972 and Voluntary Protection Programs in 1982, and promulgating standards for asbestos, machine guarding, lead, bloodborne pathogens and hexavalent chromium, among others.

“Today workplaces in America are far safer than 40 years ago,” OSHA administrator David Michaels said in a statement. “Our progress gives us hope and confidence that OSHA will continue to make a lasting difference in the lives of our nation’s 130 million workers, and their families.”

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