Health and safety is an important area regarding the protection of workers’ rights and in most countries, including in the United States, there are multiple legislations that are used to tackle the issues associated with employees’ health and safety. According to the United States Department of Labor, some of the main legislation that governs the safety and health standards pertaining to employment are the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Mine Safety and Health Act, Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act and the Fair Labor Standards Act – Child Labor Provisions.
Occupational Safety and Health Act
The main goal of the said act is to ensure worker and workplace safety. It recognizes the common safety and health hazards at a workplace such as exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress and unsanitary conditions, among many other hazardous environments. By recognizing these hazardous environments, the act provides for developing safety standards and implementing the same. In this regard, provisions were made to create the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as the research institution for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Mine Safety and Health Act
The Mine Safety and Health Act establishes requirements for immediate notification of accidents, injuries and illnesses in mines, training programs that meet the requirements of the Mine Act and obtaining approval for certain equipment used in gassy, underground mines. These provisions are in addition to its requirement for U.S. Department of Labor’s (DOL) Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) to inspect all mines in the United States in order to recognize hazardous and unhealthy conditions and respond appropriately to establish the necessary safety and health standards.
Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act
The Act establishes the procedures that need to be undertaken by farm labor contractors, agricultural employers and agricultural associations with regard to migrant and seasonal agricultural workers and to ensurie their health and safety. These procedures include disclosing the terms and conditions of employment related to their work at the time of offering the employment, posting information about worker protection at the worksite, adhering to Federal and State safety and health standards when providing housing to such workers and ensuring that provided transportation for such workers meets up with the Federal and State safety, health and insurance standards.
Fair Labor Standards Act – Child Labor Provisions
With regard to health and safety of youth employment, the Child Labor provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act are highly important. It determines what hazardous work environments are for youth and prevents employers from recruiting youth for such jobs. It also establishes the need to have parental consent when minors are engaged in work, even in non-hazardous environments, which further strengthens the safety and health standards provided for such workers by their potential employers.
Thus, the employment laws related to health and safety of employees are derived from different legislations and, with time, these legislations will be amended depending on the gradually changing industrial requirements and threats towards employee health and safety.