The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA)
The labor movement fought for over a century organizing for safer working conditions and action from the government. More than 50 years ago, the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) went into effect to support workers in their right to a safe job. Before laws like OSHA, things like child labor and death on-the-job were the norm.
To honor the passing of this act, April 28 became national Workers Memorial Day. The UN also recognizes the day as World Day for Safety and Health at Work to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally.
What Does OSHA Do?
The Department of Labor reminds us that the Act exists to “assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health; and for other purposes.”
They do this by
- “Encouraging employers and employees in their efforts to reduce the number of occupational safety and health hazards at their places of employment, and to stimulate employers and employees to institute new and to perfect existing programs for providing safe and healthful working conditions;
- By providing that employers and employees have separate but dependent responsibilities and rights with respect to achieving safe and healthful working conditions;
- By authorizing the Secretary of Labor to set mandatory occupational safety and health standards”
And more…Read more about the Act here.
However, sometimes workers still get hurt on the job. Often, tragically, these instances are preventable. The pandemic exposed many gaps in safety and of course added new challenges. Access to the ventilation, personal protective equipment, and other measures to protect workers from inhaling the virus became major concerns.
Colliers Engineering & Design has many safety protocols, Safety Checks, and information consolidated onto its Safety Intranet site, a place for all employees to easily find any safety-related materials they are looking for. The firm also has Office Safety Coordinators who are in charge at each of our offices and Discipline Safety Coordinators who are in charge of each discipline performing fieldwork. Any CED employee with a question can also approach our Senior Health and Safety Manager Lisa DeBenedetto for any questions or concerns!
Celebrate Workers Memorial Day by Being Mindful About Your Safety Measures
The American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations says, “On April 28, the unions of the AFL-CIO will observe Workers Memorial Day to remember those who have suffered and died on the job, and to organize the fight for safe jobs… We will fight for the fundamental right of every worker to a safe job until that promise is fulfilled.”
What can you do, if you aren’t involved with official unions and groups? Take time today to make sure you are completely up to date on all best practices and protocol, report any concerns, and ask any questions you may have. Check out this article if you are struggling to come up with what to do to prioritize safety.
For example, do a safety check. Is your safety vest still reflective? Have the boots lost their non-skid ability? Do the safety glasses still allow clear vision? Does the helmet need replacement? You may consider how to improve the inspections you’re already doing. Also, make sure equipment is left in good working order when you’re done using it (e.g. check air level in truck tires, ensure the vehicle is safe for the next person). Always report problems so the next person using it doesn’t inherit the issue. It’s up to each of us to prioritize safety.