OSHA 101: Key laws and regulations impacting wind energy

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) was created by the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act of 1970, “To assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women; by authorizing enforcement of the standards developed under the Act; by assisting and encouraging the States in their efforts to assure safe and healthful working conditions; by providing for research, information, education, and training in the field of occupational safety and health.”

OSHA organization

OSHA is a part of the Department of Labor.  The administrator of OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health and reports directly to the Secretary of Labor.  An OSHA organizational chart is here.

OSHA is divided into 10 regions with additional area offices. 

The OSH Act: State worker safety & health programs

The OSH Act encourages states to establish their own worker safety and health programs.  State programs must meet or exceed federal OSHA standards for workplace safety and health. 

OSHA approves and monitors state plan states.  In these states, state officials conduct inspections and enforce health and safety laws and regulations. 

There are currently 22 states and jurisdictions operating complete state plans (covering both the private sector and state and local government employees) and five (Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and the Virgin Islands) that cover public employees only. Eight other states were approved at one time but subsequently withdrew their programs.

OSHA acts & standards

Key laws and regulations administered by OSHA:

More on wind energy worker safety

Additional information can be found in this OSHA FAQ, OSHA At-a-Glance document, About OSHA Inspections, and All About OSHA document.

Email safety@awea.org with any questions or comments about wind energy worker safety.