Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role

Adopted October 1992 | Updated June 2005

The enactment of the Occupational Safety and Health Act in 1970 (the Act) and the establishment of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to enforce the Act made workplace safety and health issues a national priority. For safety professionals and practitioners, this law has directed their responsibilities and efforts towards assisting corporate America in addressing these issues. It is evident that a forum and role is needed to deal with the Act for these professionals and practitioners.

The ASSE recognizes the important role of government in assuring achievement of occupational safety and health objectives through setting standards, conducting inspections, supporting research and providing consultation and training. Therefore, ASSE advocates:

  • Employers must have primary responsibility for occupational safety and health. The Society believes that employers and employees working together, with government support, can attain excellence in safety and health performance.
  • Government should encourage, through significant incentives and recognition, voluntary employer programs for excelling in safety and health achievement.
  • Government standards setting must be conducted with efficiency, maximizing use of public input and available data to develop and publish reasonable standards in a timely manner.
  • Government enforcement should be fair and consistent. Penalties should not be set as a budgeted government revenue source, but should be based on the seriousness of noncompliance. A strong, objective mechanism must be in place to afford employers avenues of appeal of enforcement actions and incentives to expedite corrective actions.
  • Government's support of research to improve occupational safety and health is critical. The causes and severities of accidents should be analyzed to prioritize research.
  • Government consultation for improving safety and health should be made available to all employers, regardless of size. Consultations must be without threat of subsequent inspections and citations.
  • Government must utilize qualified safety and health professionals in administering the OSH Act, and assure that these professionals have opportunities for pursuing nationally recognized credentials and participating in professional development activities.

Policy Priorities

  • ASSE will take a proactive stance with federal and state agencies in the development of safety and health legislation standards. The Society will provide public written comment, oral testimony at public hearings, and seek a broader influence through discussions with regulators and legislators. Such involvement will be guided by assessment of the needs of the safety profession and its professionals.
  • The Government Affairs Committee, with support from ASSE staff and the Standards Development Committee, will provide overall leadership to the Society in this effort. An essential component of this leadership will be to nurture a government affairs network among Society organizational units that supports effective influence of occupational safety and health issues at all levels of government.
  • The Standards Development Committee will assure that ASSE is represented at ANSI/OSHA Coordinating Committee meetings to maintain the awareness and provide leadership in the development of reasonable and consistent standard related to the safety profession.
  • ASSE will support legislation that permits qualified safety and health professionals to serve as third-party compliance inspectors.
  • The ASSE will encourage OSHA staff participation in professional society activities, chapter meetings, and professional development conferences.
  • ASSE will promote inclusion of OSH Act coverage to all state and local public sector employees.

ASSE Position Statement on Government's Occupational Safety and Health Role

Approved 10/28/92 by the ASSE Board of Directors
Updated 6/11/05 by ASSE Government Affairs Committee

Back to Positions


Contact Us

Customer Service (M-F 8:30am - 5:00pm)
+1 847 699.2929

American Society of Safety Engineers
520 N. Northwest Hwy
Park Ridge, IL 60068