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The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act)
The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act) was passed to prevent workers from being killed or seriously harmed at work. This law created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces protective workplace safety and health standards. OSHA also provides information, training, and assistance to employers and workers.
Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA)
History of RCRA
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act—commonly referred to as RCRA—is our nation’s primary law governing the disposal of solid and hazardous waste. Congress passed RCRA on October 21, 1976, to address the increasing problems the nation faced from our growing volume of municipal and industrial waste. RCRA, which amended the Solid Waste Disposal Act of 1965, set national goals for:
To achieve these goals, RCRA established three distinct yet interrelated programs:
RCRA banned all open dumping of waste, encouraged source reduction and recycling, and promoted the safe disposal of municipal waste. RCRA also mandated strict controls over the treatment, storage, and disposal of hazardous waste. The first RCRA regulations, “Hazardous Waste and Consolidated Permit Regulations,” published in the Federal Register on May 19, 1980 (45 FR 33066; May 19, 1980), established the basic “cradle-to-grave” approach to hazardous waste management that exists today.
RCRA was amended and strengthened by Congress in November 1984 with the passing of the federal Hazardous and Solid Waste Amendments (HSWA). These amendments to RCRA required phasing out land disposal of hazardous waste. Some of the other mandates of this strict law include increased enforcement authority for the EPA, more stringent hazardous waste management standards, and a comprehensive underground storage tank program.
RCRA has been amended on two occasions since HSWA:
RCRA focuses only on active and future facilities and does not address abandoned or historical sites. These sites are managed under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA)—commonly known as Superfund.
Part 1: This Case Assignment explores the OSH Act, including its inception and current state. Please answer the following questions and provide support from the literature:
Part 2: This Case Assignment investigates RCRA.