Safety Management in the United States Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1525 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 7  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Transportation - Environmental Issues

Safety Management

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In the United States, most federal legislation and regulations concerning environmental protection, including occupational safety laws, falls under the rubric of the taxpayer-funded Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The head of the EPA is appointed by the President of the United States, and the EPA hosts public policy analysts, economists, as well as environmental scientists. The EPA was formed in 1970, and since then has helped create and enforce a number of different laws. All of the EPAs laws reflect federal, state, and local laws and therefore EPA laws can be enforced nationwide. The origin of the EPA's federal jurisdiction is outlined in its charter document, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). According to the EPA website, the NEPA "establishes policy, sets goals, and provides means for carrying out the policy," (Major Environmental Laws"). Some of the most significant and well-known of the federal environmental protection laws include the Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Dozens of other acts have been passed by the EPA, but the most pertinent are the following: Chemical Safety Information, Site Security and Fuels Regulatory Relief Act; Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA or Superfund); the Emergency Planning & Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRA); the Endangered Species Act; Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act; Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act; Food Quality Protection Act; the Freedom of Information Act; the Oil Pollution Act of 1990; the Pollution Prevention Act; the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act; the Safe Drinking Water Act; the Superfund Amendments and Reauthorization Act; and the Toxic Substances Control Act.

Term Paper on Safety Management in the United States, Most Assignment

The Clean Air Act (CAA) sets emissions standards for multiple sources, from automobiles to factories. In order for the CAA to be effective, the EPA must continually establish and reestablish benchmark standards for air quality and for the content of emissions. Such standards are set forth by the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). The CAA essentially authorizes the EPA to set the NAAQS. The CAA is an attempt to reduce the levels of toxic chemicals in the air, as well as reducing the possibility for acid rain and other related problems. The CAA has major impacts on large and small organizations. On the one hand, the CAA restricts which chemicals and which chemical processes organizations can use in manufacturing. The CAA might require organizations to hire specialized engineers and scientists for product development, research, and analysis. The CAA aims to improve the air quality within workplaces as well as within the surrounding community by establishing long-term emissions goals and air quality goals. However, the CAA does not necessarily pertain to the air quality for the immediate workplace environment and does not necessarily protect employees from workplace air contaminants. Working in close proximity or in direct contact with hazardous chemicals can and does pose significant health problems for employees and their families, who must wear personalized protective equipment.

The Clean Water Act (CWA) "established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into the waters of the United States," ("Clean Water Act"). Water safety, like air safety, pertains to the greater community as well as to the workplace itself. The water safety act does imply that manufacturers and other potential polluters regulate which chemicals they emit into ground water and therefore does affect workplace safety indirectly.

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) passed in 1970, is the federal act most pertinent to workplace health and safety. The provisions of the OSHA include "exposure to toxic chemicals, excessive noise levels, mechanical dangers, heat or cold stress, or unsanitary conditions," ("Occupational Safety and Health Act"). The acronym for the OSHA is reflected also in the important regulatory body, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (also OSHA). Moreover, the act provided for the creation of the Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), which serves as the research-based organization helping to inform the public policy decisions made by OSHA. The Occupational Safety and Health Act covers a range of issues and may be the fundamental federal regulatory act regarding safety and health management in the workplace. Because OSHA is officially a part of the United States Department of Labor, the act focuses on legal and liability issues as much as it does on employee health and safety. The act is designed to clarify matters of organizational behavior and responsibility as well as worker behavior and responsibility. The OSHA includes guidelines for official disclosure of information, of proper training, and of civil and criminal penalties pertaining to violations of the act. The OSHA protects employees and management alike, and can be a springboard for mediation between organizations and labor unions. Safety supervisors can and should be familiar with the OSHA provisions in order to effectively mediate between workers and their immediate supervisors.

The Emergency Planning & Community Right to Know Act focuses on community health and safety. The right-to-know provisions can and do apply to employees who become concerned about violations of existing environmental laws or about workplace hazards that are not currently stipulated in the law. Emergency planning ensures that places of employment are constructed with adequate safety measures in place, and that emergency exits, fire escapes, and construction materials all meet or exceed federal standards. The brain power behind the Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act derives from a range of sources including fire and safety personnel and engineers.

The Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act is related to the Freedom of Information Act, which also requires that "any person' can make requests for government information. Citizens who make requests are not required to identify themselves or explain why they want the information they have requested," ("Freedom of Information Act"). While imperfect, the Freedom of Information Act nevertheless offers employees some assurance that they can gain access to information that could influence their health, safety, well-being, and that of their family.

The Federal Insecticide, Fungicide, and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) pertains mainly to employees who work in proximity to or in direct contact with institutions or organizations that use such products. Farming, ranching, and agricultural industries are naturally affected by this act. Farmers and others are required to register with and report to the EPA under the stipulations of this act, to ensure the proper use of hazardous chemicals. The act also demands that workers who purchase or use insecticides, fungicides, or rodenticides obtain proper governmental licenses. The FIFRA also applies to employees of city utility companies, landscapers, and other businesses that require the use of such products.

Passed in 1969, the National Environmental Policy Act is one of the broadest EPA legislations. It requires that all branches of the federal government work together to ensure the health and safety of its citizens. All companies and organizations are subject to the provisions of this comprehensive act. The Endangered Species Act is specifically a conservation program for plant and animal species. According to the EPA, "Species include birds, insects, fish, reptiles, mammals, crustaceans, flowers, grasses, and trees. Anyone can petition FWS to include a species on this list," "Endangered Species Act"). The Endangered Species Act works in conjunction with other EPA acts such as the FIFRA because pesticides and other workplace chemicals affect plant and animal species as well as human beings. The Endangered Species Act will pertain especially to employees of organizations that deal directly with zoology or botany. The act also applies to organizations that might be responsible for endangering the lives and future existence of endangered plant or animal species.

In 1990, the EPA passed the Oil Pollution Act. The oil pollution act was drafted in response to a number of tragedies resulting from oil spills. The Oil Pollution Act protects all citizens but can also directly impact workplace health and safety of personnel of oil rigs… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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