Are You Environmentally Friendly?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is an independent agency of the United States federal government for environmental protection. The agency is led by an administrator, who is appointed by the president and approved by the Senate.
The agency conducts environmental assessments, research, and education. It has the responsibility of maintaining and enforcing national standards under a variety of environmental laws, in consultation with state, tribal and local governments. EPA enforcement powers include fines, sanctions and other measures. The agency also works with industries and all levels of government in a wide variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts. More than half of EPA's employees are engineers, scientists, and environmental protection specialists; other employees include legal, public affairs, financial and information technologists.
The mission of EPA is to protect human health and the environment.
EPA works to ensure that:
- Americans have clean air, land and water
- National efforts to reduce environmental risks are based on the best available scientific information
- Federal laws protecting human health and the environment are administered and enforced fairly, effectively and as Congress intended
- Environmental stewardship is integral to U.S. policies concerning natural resources, human health, economic growth, energy, transportation, agriculture, industry, and international trade; these factors are similarly considered in establishing environmental policy
- All parts of society--communities, individuals, businesses, and state, local and tribal governments--have access to accurate information sufficient to effectively participate in managing human health and environmental risks
- Contaminated lands and toxic sites are cleaned up by potentially responsible parties and revitalized
- Chemicals in the marketplace are reviewed for safety.
To accomplish this mission, the EPA:
- Develops and enforces regulations
- Awards grants
- Studies environmental issues
- Sponsors partnerships
- Teaches people about the environment
- Publishes information
Visit the National EPA's website for information on compliance assistance, monitoring and enforcement. Also check out the websites for the Ohio EPA, Michigan EGLE and Kentucky's Department for Environmental Protection.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
With the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, Congress created The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance. OSHA is part of the United States Department of Labor. The administrator for OSHA is the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health. OSHA's administrator answers to the Secretary of Labor, who is a member of the cabinet of the President of the United States.
OSHA is responsible for enforcing its standards on regulated entities. Compliance Safety and Health Officers carry out inspections and assess fines for regulatory violations. Inspections are planned for worksites in particularly hazardous industries. Inspections can also be triggered by a workplace fatality, multiple hospitalizations, worker complaints, or referrals. OSHA, in conjunction with its state partners, conduct more than 83,000 yearly inspections of workplaces across the United States — just a fraction of the nation’s worksites. OSHA's workplace safety inspections have been shown to reduce injury rates and costs without adverse effects to employment, sales, credit ratings or firm survival.
Tracking and investigating workplace injuries and illnesses play an important role in preventing future occurrences. Under OSHA’s Recordkeeping regulation, certain covered employers in high hazard industries are required to prepare and maintain records of serious occupational injuries and illnesses. This information is important for employers, workers and OSHA in evaluating the safety of a workplace, understanding industry hazards and implementing worker protections to reduce and eliminate hazards.
Visit OSHA’s website for more information on standards, tips and resources.