Three U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) agencies have responsibility for the administration and enforcement of the laws enacted to protect the safety and health of workers in America.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration
- OSHA administers the Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) Act.
- Safety and health conditions in most private industries are regulated by OSHA or OSHA-approved state plans.
- Nearly every employee in the nation comes under OSHA's jurisdiction with some exceptions such as miners, some transportation workers, many public employees, and the self-employed.
- Employers subject to the OSH Act also have a general duty to provide work and a workplace free from recognized, serious hazards.
- OSHA also administers the Whistleblower Protection program, ensuring an employer cannot retaliate by taking "adverse action" against workers who report injuries, safety concerns, or other protected activity.
Mine Safety and Health Administration
- DOL's MSHA has responsibility for administration and enforcement of the Mine Safety and Health Act of 1977, which protects the safety and health of workers employed in the nation's mines.
- The Act applies to all mining and mineral processing operations in the United States, regardless of size, number of employees, or method of extraction.
Fair Labor Standards Act
- FLSA contains rules concerning the employment of young workers, those under the age of 18, and is administered and enforced by DOL's Wage and Hour Division. Intended to protect the health and well-being of youth in America, the FLSA contains minimum age restrictions for employment, restrictions on the times of day youth may work, and the jobs they may perform.
- Office of Workers' Compensation Programs - Administers four major disability compensation programs which provide wage replacement benefits, medical treatment, vocational rehabilitation and other benefits to certain workers or their dependents who experience work-related injury or occupational disease. You can also read more at our workers' compensation topic page.
- Office of the Ombudsman for the Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOMBD) and the SHARE initiative also play a role in the administration of DOL workplace safety and health programs.
For help in determining which safety and health standards apply to particular employment situations, select from the subtopics lists. Also, see the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s webpages on safety and health in the workplace.