Critics aside, OSHA has drastically reduced worker deaths and injuries since its inception (INFOGRAPHIC)

The Occupational Safety and Health Act was signed into law in 1970, bringing about OSHA. And though the agency gets its fair share of grief over its stream of regulations from construction firms and contractors (much of it rightly so), the organization has overall had a very positive impact on what it means to be an American worker.

As the below infographic lays out (sourced from data from OSHA and The Bureau of Labor Statistics) worker deaths have fallen by more than 60 percent since in the four decades since OSHA was established. And that was after workplace injuries skyrocketed 20 percent during the 1960s. Worker injuries have declined by nearly 50 percent as well.

Doug Thomas is the owner of Thomas Construction in Grove City, Pennsylvania, and this year’s Safety Award winner in our Contractor of the Year contest. When it comes to discussing regulations, Thomas, like many other contractors, has no problem voicing his frustrations.

However, he also believes some of the increased safety regulations seen in recent years is a direct result of widespread poor leadership within construction firms. “We are somewhat a product of our own neglect and that we haven’t taken care of the people that work for us. And that’s maybe why some of the regulations are necessary,” he says.

One thing is for sure, since 1970, we’ve come a log way. The infographic has much more interesting data below.