Skillsoft Blog

Environmental, Safety and Health Compliance—More than 40 Years of Progress

Did you know that in 1969 one of America’s rivers was so polluted with oil and trash that it caught fire?  That forty years ago on average, 38 U.S. workers died on the job each day?

In 1970, Congress passed laws to protect both human health and the environment. These laws have greatly improved our lives and compliance training has played a major role in achieving the goals set by the agencies tasked with defining and upholding the laws. Skillsoft offers over 125 Environmental, Safety and Health (ESH) titles that support the laws and enhance a learner’s ability to help protect their self, their co-workers, the environment and their community.

Occupational safety and health

Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in 1970 to assure safe and healthful conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and
providing training, outreach, education, and compliance assistance.  Under the OSHA law, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their workers.

In four decades, OSHA and their state partners, coupled with the efforts of employers, safety and health professionals, unions and advocates, have had a dramatic effect on workplace

  • Since 1970, workplace fatalities have been reduced by more than 65 percent and occupational injury and illness rates have declined by 67 percent. At the same time, U.S. employment has almost doubled.
  • Worker deaths in America are down — from about 38 worker deaths a day in 1970 to 13 a day in 2011.
  • Worker injuries and illnesses are down — from 10.9 incidents per 100 workers in 1972 to fewer than 4 per 100 in 2010.

To learn more about OSHA, watch this short video of old and new footage that highlights key moments in the Nation’s progress over the past forty years in occupational safety and health protection.

Environmental protection

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans [one in every ten Americans at the time] stood up to demand a cleaner and healthier environment. This first Earth Day was one of the largest grassroots demonstrations in our nation’s history and it worked. By the end of the year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was created and tasked with both cleaning up the damage already done to the environment and establishing guidelines to help Americans make a cleaner and safer environment a reality.

The vast environmental improvements made in the last 40 years have benefitted every single American.

Air quality

  • In the 40 years since the Clean Air Act went into effect, America has reduced 60% of the dangerous air pollutants that cause smog, acid rain, lead poisoning and more.
  • Today, new cars are 98 percent cleaner than in 1970 in terms of smog-forming pollutants.  This change has made Americans healthier.

Protecting America’s water

Forty years ago the Cuyahoga River in Ohio was so filled with oily waste and industrial pollution that it actually caught fire.  Today, the EPA is working to protect the water resources that keep our families healthy, our communities clean, and our country strong.

  • Sixty-percent more Americans were served by publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities from 1968 to 2008.
  • In a study of lakes from the 1970s to 2007, water quality improved. Half the lakes saw less nutrient concentrations (forming green sludge) and a quarter saw improved trophic status.
  • Today, more than 2,000 water bodies identified as impaired in 2002 now meet water quality standards.
  • The number of Americans receiving drinking water that met health standards went from 79 percent, in 1993, to 92 percent, in 2008.


  • American families and businesses went from recycling about 10 percent of trash in 1980 to more than 33 percent in 2008.  America recycles 83 million tons of trash annually.  That’s like cutting green house gas emissions from more than 33 million automobiles.

Skillsoft’s ESH compliance solutions

Skillsoft offers over 125 ESH courses, with translated courses available in the following languages (not all courses are available in all languages):

  • Latin American Spanish
  • Chinese Mandarin
  • Canadian English and French
  • German

ESH compliance courseware can be delivered and tracked through the Skillsoft Academy or Skillport® platforms and has a proven track record with third-party learning management systems. The courseware and technology conform to standards including Section 508, AICC and SCORM. The Skillsoft Academy platform manages blended curricula of elearning compliance courses along with records of other types of training such as classroom, video or on-the-job training, so all training records can be managed in one system.


By Allison von Gruenigen, Compliance Solutions Consultant, Skillsoft

Allison has worked in the environmental, safety and health field for over twenty years. She is a Compliance Solutions Consultant at Skillsoft.

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