The Meaning of OSHA: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of OSHA? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the abbreviation OSHA, including its definition, usage, and more!

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What does the abbreviation OSHA stand for?

According to Tech Target and OSHA, OSHA stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration under the department of labor in the United States. OSHA is responsible for protecting the safety and health of workers in the United States. OSHA was created by Congress in 1971 following its passage of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. This act was passed in response to a plethora of annual workplace accidents that resulted in 14,000 worker deaths and 2.5 million disabled workers annually. OSHA has more than cut the work-fatality rate in half. OSHA is responsible for identifying possible causes for job-related injuries, deaths and illnesses.

Employers are tasked with complying with OSHA standards and OSHA inspections. They must eliminate or minimize potential hazards, keep records of workplace injuries and illness, train employees to recognize hazards, and educate employees on precautions to prevent accidents. OSHA coverage includes many private sector employers and public sector employers as ewell. OSHA is responsible for workplace safety in the 50 states and other jurisdictions including the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, American Samoa, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

OSHA is also responsible for fining or providing other consequences to violators of OSHA. If there is a complaint of a violation of the OSHA regulations and OSHA requirements, they have the federal authority to enact consequences. If there is retaliation by employees against an employer for safety, these complaints should be taken up with OSHA as they fit in with OSHA’s mission. For example, if employees are not provided with necessary personal protective equipment, or if they are exposed to other health hazards, the OSH act covers this. This part of the United States Department of Labor should protect the whistleblower and implement changes to the company. Without the input from the employees or workplace research, many of these violations would go unnoticed.

Illness rates have gone way down thanks to federal OSHA and other such state programs, as has exposure to hazards. People are also able to get disability compensation. 

Also according to OSHA, there are a few different terms that you may see when dealing with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United States Department of Labor. These include CSHO, which stands for an OSHA Compliance Safety and Health Officer or Compliance Officer. Assistant secretary refers to the Assistant Secretary of Labor in charge of leading OSHA, and the General Duty Clause refers to the 1970 act in section 5, which states that each employer should do the following, as stated in the act:

  1.  Each employer shall furnish to each of their employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees
  2.  Each employer shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under the Act.
  3.  Employees shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to their own actions and conduct.

According to The Free Dictionary, OSHA can also stand for a couple of other things aside from the Occupational Safety and Health Association. These definitions are still valid, but are used far less commonly. Therefore, they should be used sparingly. If you do decide to use one of these alternate definitions for OSHA, make sure that you provide the reader or listener with the appropriate context so that they can infer the correct meaning of OSHA. 

  •  Oregon Speech and Hearing Association (Salem, OR)
  •  On-Site Hazard Analysis
  •  Occupational Safety and Health Association (Hong Kong)
  •  Operation & Support Hazard Analysis
  •  Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970

There are many other departments under the US Department of Labor. These all have specific tasks. If you need help with an employer or labor rights, contact the appropriate source from this list from the Department of Labor

  •  Office of Inspector General (OIG)
  •  Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs (OCIA)
  •  Administrative Review Board (ARB)
  •  Civil Rights Center: Organizational Chart
  •  Women’s Bureau (WB)
  •  Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC)
  •  Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD)
  •  Office of the Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (OASAM)
  •  Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA)
  •  Office of Public Liaison (OPL)
  •  Benefits Review Board (BRB)
  •  Office of Workers’ Compensation Programs (OWCP)
  •  Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
  •  Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB)
  •  Office of the Assistant Secretary for Policy (OASP)
  •  Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO)
  •  Office of the Secretary (OSEC)
  •  Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
  •  Wage and Hour Division (WHD)
  •  Office of Administrative Law Judges (OALJ)
  •  Veterans’ Employment and Training Service (VETS)
  •  Employment and Training Administration (ETA)
  •  Centers for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives (CFOI)
  •  Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board (ECAB)
  •  Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP)
  •  Office of Labor-Management Standards (OLMS)
  •  Employee Benefits Security Administration (EBSA)
  •  Office of the Solicitor (SOL)
  •  Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP)

Overall, the acronym OSHA means Occupational Safety and Health Administration. This is a department under the US Department of Labor that is responsible for maintaining health and safety in the workplace. OSHA violations are a serious offense and can be met with federal consequences.


  1. OSHA – What does OSHA stand for? | The Free Dictionary
  2. Glossary of Terms Introduction to OSHA “OSHA” Stands for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the United St | OSHA 
  3. About OSHA | Occupational Safety and Health Administration
  4. What is Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)? | Tech Target
  5. DOL Agencies and Programs | Department of Labor