The Origins of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

TitleThe Origins of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1982
AuthorsDonnelly, P.
JournalSocial Problems
Volume30
Issue1
Pagination13 - 25
Keywordsaccidents, Occupational Safety and Health Act, OSHA, workers’ rights, workplace safety
Abstract

This paper analyzes the emergence of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 and finds previous explanations of its origin inadequate. I trace the roots of this law to the protests of rank-and-file workers across the United States at at time when the support of these workers was particularly important to the two main political parties. The protest was directed not only at those employers who operated unsafe and unhealthy workplaces, but also at union officials who paid little or no attention to safety and health issues in negotiating new contracts.