Through the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act or act), Congress sought a nationwide approach to regulating workplace accidents and injuries. The act authorizes the Secretary of Labor to create and enforce workplace safety standards. Additionally, the act contains a General Duty Clause, also enforced by the Secretary of Labor, which generally requires employers to provide workplaces that are free of potentially harmful hazards. The act created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and an Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, to whom the Secretary of Labor has delegated his enforcement rights and obligations under the act. The act also established the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), an adjudicatory agency independent of the Department of Labor, and therefore OSHA, that is tasked with reviewing enforcement actions. OSHA enforces its standards and the General Duty Clause through inspections, citations, and penalties. Employers can seek review of OSHA enforcement actions first with OSHRC and then with U.S. Courts of Appeals.
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