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Author: Brooke C. Stoddard

The federal Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act was passed in 1970 to assure safe workplaces for employees. The Act covers all private sector places of employment, even for companies with as few as one employee and for places of employment generally considered safe, such as office buildings; it covers all states and US territories. The OSH Act is administered by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is an agency of the US Department of Labor. Individual states may operate their own safety and health programs rather than use the federal one so long as their requirements are at least as effective as the federal ones. The OSH Act operates by requiring employers to provide places of employment free of dangers. In doing so, the Act confers rights and responsibilities on both employees and employers. This Legal Insight discusses those rights and responsibilities.