Essay title: The History of Occupational Health and Safety
In 1907 the U.S. Department of the Interior created the Bureau of Mines to investigate accidents, examine health hazards, and make recommendations for improvements. One of the most important developments in the history of the safety movement occurred in 1908 when an early form of workers ' compensation was introduced in the United States. Workers' compensation as a concept made great strides in the United States when Wisconsin passed the first effective workers' compensation law in 1911. In the same year New Jersey was the first state to uphold a workers' compensation law.
In 1913 National Council of Industrial safety is formed and two years later, National Council of Industrial safety changed its name to National Safety Council.From the end of World War I (1918) through the 1950s there was a steady growth in safety awareness. During this period the federal government encouraged contractors to implement and maintain a safe work environment.
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Also, during this period industry in the United States arrived at two critical conclusions: (1) there is a definite connection between quality and safety; and (2) off-the-job accidents have negative impact on productivity. The second conclusion became painfully clear to manufacturers during World War II when the call-up and deployment of troops had employers struggling to meet their labor needs. For these employers, the loss of skilled worker due to an injury or for any other reason created an excessive hardship.In the 1960s a number of legislation that promotes workplace safety was passed. Generally, the state legislated safety requirements only in specific industries, had inadequate safety and health standards, and had inadequate budgets for enforcement. The injury and death toll due to industrial mishaps was still too high.
In the late 1960s, more than 14,000 employees were killed annually in connection with their jobs. Work injury rates were taking an upward swing. These were the primary reasons behind the passage of Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSHA) and the Federal Mine safety Act of 1977.
These Federal laws, particularly OSHA, represent the most significant legislation to date in the history of the safety movement.Work related injuries are estimated to cost the country $4.2 billion a year according to the latest figures released by the Occupational Safety and Health Service of the Department of Labour. This includes an estimate of the total cost of work related fatalities only of $150 million. Researchers estimate that the ‘insured costs’ of accidents are only a minor part of the total cost of accidents to the economy. Estimates of the total cost range from six times the ‘insured cost’ through to 53 times the ‘insured cost’.