History Paved the Way for Our Safety Today

Brandy Kemp, EHS Administrative Specialist I

When you participate in UCO’s annual safety training, think about the history that led to this moment. Picture the factories that sprang up during the Industrial Revolution, full of chemicals, dust, dangerous machines and a confusing jumble of belts, pulleys and gears. The workers were inexperienced and often very young. The workplace of the 1870s and 1880s was full of tragedies that too often struck the unsuspecting or the unfortunate. For every 10,000 workers in the United States, 1,200 were seriously injured or killed each year.  

These tragedies drove social reformers and the growing labor movement to call for state factory safety and health laws. A highly successful “safety first” movement developed which gained popularity in other industries.   

It took one hundred years, 20 presidents and thousands of activists to build the system which is in place today to federally protect workers. In 1970, President Richard Nixon signed into law the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA). The law requires employers to educate employees about the hazards they may face in their work environment. Our workplaces are safer than ever thanks to the thousands of workers who paved the way.  

If you have any questions about the training, please call Environmental Health and Safety at ext. 2216.  The trainings can be found in The Learning Center.