What Is The Difference Between OSHA And NIOSH?

16 February , 2022 by Rashida Saeed
What Is The Difference Between OSHA And NIOSH

Every workplace involves safety hazards, especially in industries with dangerous machines and heavy loads. There are risks of fire, explosions, toxic chemical releases, and much more. If proper safety measures are not followed, employees may face severe injuries, burns, and health problems.

Keeping workers safe is one of the primary responsibilities of every employer. They are legally and ethically bound to protect their employees from harm. But how can employers keep their workers safe? By ensuring safe working conditions and training workers to handle risky situations the right way.

Safety in the Industrial World

Some businesses fail to assess the potential risks and hazards in their workplaces. Consequently, they cannot introduce effective safety measures to protect workers from harm. Some businesses do not take good safety measures deliberately, thinking of them as an added cost. The result? Workers face accidents that sometimes result in death. 

The aftermath of such incidents also affects crucial business aspects, like the production output, shipping schedules, order fulfillment, vendor relationships, etc.

This is exactly why numerous organizations are solely dedicated to occupational health and safety. This blog will talk about two such organizations in the USA.  

40% of workplace injuries happen to new hires. Avoid these injuries, and enhance safety training with expert OSHA compliance safety videos.


Let’s get started.

The Origin of OSHA and NIOSH

In 1970, Congress enacted the Occupational Safety and Health Act as a federal law to govern occupational health and safety in the USA. This act mandated a regulatory agency and a research institution to promote workplace safety in the country.

  • The regulatory agency came into existence as OSHA
  • The research institution came into existence as NIOSH

Although both of these organizations are dedicated to the health and safety of the workers, their nature of work is different. Continue reading to know the differences between them.

  • What is OSHA?

OSHA stands for Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). It is an agency that sets and enforces rules and standards to ensure employees feel safe and healthy working conditions prevail. 

  • What is NIOSH?

NIOSH stands for National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. It is an agency that conducts research and makes recommendations to prevent injuries and illnesses at workplaces.

Differences between OSHA and NIOSH 

You can consider OSHA and NIOSH two different paths leading to the same destination, i.e., health and safety of employees. The major differences between them are explained below.

1. Purpose

The most prominent responsibility of OSHA is to create rules and standards for safety. It is also responsible for enforcing those laws and standards on every employer. Employers that do not follow the rules, can be charged fines or taken to court. Moreover, this organization also provides training, outreach, education, and assistance to employers and employees regarding different aspects of health and safety at the workplace.

NIOSH, on the other hand, is not a regulatory agency. It cannot create and enforce any law or standard. Instead, this organization gathers data and statistics, conducts research, holds research programs, and publishes its findings to promote a better understanding of workplace health and safety. It also strives to strengthen international workplace safety and health by collaborating with global institutions. 

Enhance workplace safety! Create your OSHA-compliant training video with us for accident-free operations.


2. Part of Different Government Entities

Both of these organizations were created under federal law. However, they are a part of two different government entities. 

OSHA is a division of the Department of Labor in the USA. The Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health works as the administrator of OSHA. He is answerable to the Secretary of Labor for Occupational Safety and Health, a cabinet member of the President of the U.S. 

NIOSH is a part of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which falls under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. This organization has more than 1300 employees belonging to various fields, like epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and engineering. 

Being a part of different organizations, their missions are bound to differ. 

3. Nature of Work

OSHA has created standards that all employers have to follow to keep their employees safe from workplace hazards. There are different standards for different fields, like construction, maritime operations, and general industry. These standards address limits on hazardous chemicals exposed to the workers, use of safety equipment, records of injuries in workplaces, fall protection, confined spaces, infectious diseases, etc. 

NIOSH has been active in conducting nationwide research to prevent workplace accidents. Let’s consider an example. NIOSH launched a program called Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation (FACE). This program was designed to understand the elements that result in occupational injury or death. 

Under the FACE program, several factors of fatal work injuries are studied like work environment, tasks of workers, tools used, and the actions taken by the management. The purpose is not to blame anyone, so no names are added to the reports. 


This table summarizes the major differences between both organizations. 

  • Create rules and standards for the health and safety of workers.
  • Make sure that the standards are enforced on all employers.
  • Conducts research in the field of occupational safety and health.
  • Makes recommendations to OSHA for developing effective standards.
Government EntityPart of DOL (Department of Labor)Part of CDC (Centre for Disease Control)
Nature of WorkRegulatory agencyResearch Institution

Final Words

It’s high time for all employers to be more proactive about the health and safety of their workers. It’s not hard to achieve. Why? Because organizations like OSHA and NIOSH are especially dedicated to helping businesses take important safety measures at their workplaces. Also, organizations like Studio52 – Media Production Company provide industrial safety video services to make the training process easier. 

Safety training videos are 80% easier to recall than text based manuals provided to workers. Switch to safety training videos for more assurance.



free guide

What Is The Difference Between OSHA And NIOSH?

[contact-form-7 id="22091" title="Download PDF"]