Workplace health org celebrates 50th

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been long supported and supplemented by COSH organizations, also known as councils for occupational safety and health. This month, National COSH is marking its 50th, and still offering resources to agencies and employees on how to improve workplace safety.

OSHA was founded with the 1970 Occupational Safety and Health Act. But individual councils, each known as a COSH, of workers, health organizations and allied groups took off in 1972, and ensured that the new agency and its regulations were able to take effect on the ground.

A half-century ago, a wide range of councils for occupational safety and health, known as COSH groups, coalesced to work together, pushing for healthy workplaces with allies in organized labor as well as legal, health and community organizations—building upon the strengths of the then-new Occupational Safety and Health Act (1970).

This month, the inheritor of the network of COSH groups—the National COSH organization—marked the anniversary, to celebrate safer workplaces and to raise money to raise awareness of the need for further improvements to worker health and safety laws and procedures across the country.

“The National Council for Occupational Safety and Health is dedicated to promoting safe and healthy working conditions for all working people through organizing and advocacy,” NCOSH states on its site. “Our belief that almost all work-related deaths and serious injuries and illnesses are preventable motivates us to encourage workers to take action to protect their safety and health, promote protection from retaliation under job safety laws, and provide quality information and training about hazards on the job and workers’ rights.”

“National COSH … is a national leader in the fight for safe, healthy working conditions,” the group says. “Founded in 2004, National COSH works to ensure that all workers can earn their living with dignity and respect and return home alive and well at the end of their shift.”

Fed employee orgs and unions are joining in on the events—and encouraging government workers to check it all out. The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) heralded the event with a special message.

“National COSH has been an important ally of AFGE in our fight for safe and healthy workplaces,” the union stated this month. “Our union would like to invite you to celebrate the organization’s 50 years of amazing work on behalf of workers everywhere and to help create a vision for the future.”

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