Occupational Safety & Health

V. Key Issues: Population Health >> E. Health Protection >> Occupational Safety & Health (last updated 9.1.17)

The Policy Problem

The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 created both NIOSH and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). OSHA is in the U.S. Department of Labor and is responsible for developing and enforcing workplace safety and health regulations. NIOSH is part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Department of Health and Human Services.
Additionally, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Amendments Act of 1977 delegated additional authority to NIOSH for coal mine health research.

Policy Options

Abolition of OSHA

Critics of OSHA observe that the historical patterns of fatal and non-fatal workplace accidents are the same before as after 1970 when OSHA was adopted. See Thomas J. Kniesner and John D. Leeth, Abolishing OSHA, Regulation 18, 1995: 46-56.





  • BLS. Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, 2009
  • BLS. Workplace Injuries and Illnesses–2010
  • BLS. Nonfatal Occupational Injuries and Illnesses Requiring Days Away From Work, 2014. An annual report typically released in the following November of the year featured.
  • BLS. State Occupational Injuries, Illnesses, and Fatalities. State data presenting the number and frequency of work-related injuries, illnesses, and fatal injuries are available from two BLS programs: nonfatal cases of work-related injuries and illnesses that are recorded by employers under the Occupational safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) recordkeeping guidelines are available for 46 States and Territories from the BLS Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses (SOII); fatal cases of work-related injuries are available for all States, Territories, and New York City under a separate program, the BLS Census of Fatal Occupational Injuries (CFOI). This site provides state-level data starting in 1996 on the number and rate of both occupational injuries/illnesses and fatal injuries/illnesses.

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