See changes over time with new online archive of Ohio specific safety requirements

By Andrew Hart, Research Librarian – Ohio BWC Library

Did you know that until 1971, workplace safety laws and rules were left up to the states? That’s when President Richard Nixon signed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) into law. However, Ohio still has its own workplace safety laws and rules on the books! The BWC Library can help you navigate Ohio’s specific safety requirements (SSRs). We can also explain why they’re important and guide you through their evolution.

The history of SSRs can be complicated and confusing. That’s why the BWC Library digitized the collection. You might ask, “What application do old Ohio SSRs have today? Why are they still important?” You might be surprised to learn law offices contact the library regularly to obtain older SSRs. By digitizing and supplying a history of changes to SSRs, our patrons can access these documents easily.

To view our collection of digitized SSRs, visit our specific safety requirements webpage. If you have any questions, please call the BWC Library at 614-466-7388 or email us at

History of SSRs

Massachusetts passed the first factory inspection law in 1877. Soon after, the federal government took an interest in workplace safety, creating the Bureau of Labor Standards in 1934. The bureau was a forerunner of OSHA. It was the first federal agency to focus on promoting safety and health in the workforce.

Ten years before Bureau of Labor Standards formed, Ohio began issuing occupational safety standards called bulletins. The Industrial Commission of Ohio (IC) began enforcing these standards in 1924. Each bulletin covered a specific topic and provided requirements for Ohio employers. The IC amended them over time, and it combined or separated some into new bulletins.

Ohio has recodified the bulletins three times since:

  • On Jan. 1, 1967, Ohio recodified the bulletins into IC codes. In most cases, only the names changed – not the language of the rules.
  • On Jan. 1, 1977, Ohio’s SSRs changed from the IC designation to the modern Ohio Administrative Code.
  • On Nov. 1, 2003, Ohio recodified SSRs a final time. They now fall under BWC.

The Ohio Legislative Service Commission houses the Ohio’s current specific safety requirements on its website. BWC reviews SSRs every five years to ensure they follow current safety practices and standards. Employers who do not adhere to SSRs may face fines and penalties from the IC. The BWC website describes the violation of specific safety requirement (VSSR) benefit.

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