Thank God For OSHA!

January 23, 2015 No Comments

OSHA started in 1971.  I’m old enough to remember what it was like “before OSHA”.  In the 1960’s I was a young man in junior high and senior high school.  I worked three different jobs:  construction, food manufacturing, and janitorial.  Back in then:

  • I worked with dangerous chemicals, giant production machinery, and high pressure steam yet I received no safety training or PPE.
  • I entered confined spaces alone without: air tesing, locking out the machinery, or an attendant.  A friend filled in for me one day and was seriously injured.
  • I worked at heights of up to 30 feet with no fall protection.
  • I operated noisy machinery without hearing protection.
  • I cleaned razor sharp blades without gloves.
  • I worked road construction while wearing only short pants and tennis shoes (no hardhat, safety glasses, shirt, or high visibility vest ).
  • Employees were treated likes beasts of burden being required to lift and handle incredibly large and heavy loads.  At 15 I moved 600 pound barrels for hours with nothing but a two wheeled hand cart.
  • Children were hired to work hazardous jobs for long hours and low pay.
  • Machinery guards were considered a nuisance and were often removed or discarded.
  • Factories had no first aid supplies, eye washes or emergency showers.  First aid training was unheard of.
  • Back injuries, hearing loss, and repetitive trauma disorders were not considered to be work related disorders.
  • There were no air quality standards and no one wore respirators.  Older workers died of work related lung disorders we’d never heard of and couldn’t spell.

The companies that I worked for in those early days were not run by bad people.  They did not want to see anyone hurt.  But without OSHA, they had no workplace safety and health standards to follow.  They were ignorant of the common safety and health practices that we take for granted these days.

I have no doubt that OSHA has saved thousands of lives, and hundreds of thousands of injuries.  Most old timers like me realize this and appreciate the positive impact that OSHA has had on the workplace.  Without OSHA, we’d still be back in the dark ages of safety, and most of us would not have the job we have now.  Thank God for OSHA and their dedicated employees (past and present)!

For  35 more free articles on OSHA standards and their interpretation and enforcement – click here to visit our “Everything You Need To Know About The OSHA Standards” webpage”!

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