Occupational Safety and Health Act

The Occupational Safety and Health Act is a federal law that is intended to improve the level of worker and workplace safety. The Act does so by mandating the elimination of employee exposure to toxic chemicals, dangerous equipment, excessively high noise levels, unsanitary conditions, and excessive amounts of high or low temperature stress. The provisions of the Act only apply to those organizations engaged in interstate commerce. The Act also created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is part of the Department of Labor. OSHA's role is to set and enforce workplace health and safety standards. OSHA is authorized to inspect and investigate any workplace covered by the Act.

OSHA requires the use of material safety data sheets (MSDS), which are detailed technical bulletins that must be posted for general reading by employees. An MSDS is intended to make employees aware of chemical hazards and how to avoid them. Further, OSHA requires employers to itemize all job-related injuries and illnesses requiring medical treatment on the OSHA Form 300.