Occupational Safety and Health:

Federal Agencies Identified as Promoting Workplace Safety and Health

HEHS-00-45R: Published: Jan 31, 2000. Publicly Released: Jan 31, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the federal agencies who regulate workplace safety and health, focusing on the: (1) key federal agencies responsible for promoting workplace safety and health, specifically on those that have regulatory and enforcement authority or otherwise significantly assist in the enforcement process; and (2) federal laws and regulations that serve as the basis of enforcement and the types of worker and industries covered by these regulations.

GAO noted that: (1) six executive agencies and 15 component agencies are responsible for enforcing at least 37 different federal laws governing workplace safety and health for private sector workers; (2) of the 15 component agencies, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has general enforcement authority for workplace safety and health, with the other agencies having enforcement authority for particular types of workplace hazards; (3) by law, OSHA may exercise enforcement authority for these hazards if these other agencies do not; (4) according to OSHA, it has 53 memorandums of understanding with other federal agencies regarding workplace safety and health; (5) promoting workplace safety and health involves several key elements, including rulemaking, education and training, inspection and monitoring, incident investigation, adjudication or prosecution, and research or data collection; and (6) multiple entities are involved across these elements in order to assist enforcement agencies in their efforts.

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