The United States Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is an agency of the United States Department of Labor. It was created by Congress of the United States under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Its mission is to prevent work-related injuries, illnesses, and occupational fatality by issuing and enforcing rules called standards for workplace safety and health. The OSH Act, which created OSHA also created the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as a research agency focusing on occupational health and safety. NIOSH, however, is not a part of the U.S. Department of Labor.
OSHA federal regulations cover most private sector workplaces. The OSH Act permits states to develop approved plans as long as they cover public sector employees and they provide protection equivalent to that provided under Federal OSHA regulations. In return, a portion of the cost of the approved state program is paid by the federal government. Twenty-two states and territories operate plans covering both the public and private sectors and five — Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and the US Virgin Islands — operate public employee only plans. In those five states, private sector employment remains under Federal OSHA jurisdiction.