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US Occupational Safety & Health Act, Legislative History

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Contributed by : Eric Frumin

Object # 494

December 30, 1970

This copy of the “Legislative History”, a critical reference used by Secretary of Labor, the Courts and future Congresses in interpreting the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act, was the personal copy of Mr. George Perkel, Research Director for the Textile Workers Union of America. Perkel was a key spokesperson for worker H&S in the campaign for the passage of the OSHAct, and key participant in the fight for OSHA’s 1978 standard limiting workers’ exposure to cotton dust — the cause of disabling lung disease among thousands of textile workers.

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When the US Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act, it held many hearings and debated many amendments. After the law was passed on Dec. 30, 1970, the Congress issued its 1,278-page “Legislative History”, explaining the various provisions. The History includes a brief Forward by the chief sponsor, Sen. Harrison Williams of NJ. The final version of the OSHAct, as passed, begins on p. 1,229. There have been almost no amendments in the past 40 years, although comprehensive reforms have been proposed repeatedly — including the Protecting America’s Workers Act last introduced in 2009, and again in 2011. Copies of the current OSHAct are available on OSHA’s website.
– Eric Frumin

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