Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. agency established (1970) in the Dept. of Labor (see Labor, United States Department of) to develop and enforce regulations for the safety and health of workers in businesses that are engaged in interstate commerce. OSHA develops guidelines and issues regulations for safety and health standards, and conducts inspections of workplaces for compliance with these standards. In instances of noncompliance, it issues citations and proposes penalties. In the 1980s and 90s, OSHA took a more active role in protecting against health hazards in the workplace, seeking to limit the exposure of workers to hazardous substances such as lead, asbestos, pesticides, and toxic chemicals and noise.
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