OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) is a federal agency within the U.S. Department of Labor responsible for enforcing workplace safety standards. OSHA was established to ensure safe working conditions for America’s workforce. Today, the agency enforces numerous laws and regulations designed to prevent injuries and illnesses in the workplace. OSHA requires many employers to comply with its standards and regulations. If they fail to do so, they face fines and penalties. Keep reading to find out what types of companies are under OSHA’s jurisdiction!
OSHA: A Brief History
President Richard Nixon created OSHA in 1970 through the Occupational Safety and Health Act as a national public health agency dedicated to improving working conditions across multiple industries. The administration makes the right to a safe work environment a basic human right. Under the act, employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for their employees. Since its institution, OSHA has reduced the rate of workplace fatalities by 63%. In 1970, over 14,000 workers died on the job. In 2018, just over 5,000 workers died on the job.
Occupational injuries and illnesses cost American employers more than $97.4 billion per year in worker’s compensation costs alone. Lost productivity, employee training, and employee replacement costs can nearly double that number. Overall, OSHA has a positive impact on the working environment in the United States, but not all companies are under OSHA’s jurisdiction.
What Types of Companies are Under OSHA’s Jurisdiction?
OSHA covers most employees in the nation. It operates in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and other U.S. jurisdictions either through Federal OSHA or approved state programs. All state-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the federal OSHA program to receive approval. The OSH act also applies to the outer continental shelf lands as defined by the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act. Most private sector industries and companies are under OSHA’s jurisdiction.
What Types of Companies are Not Under OSHA’s Jurisdiction?
Some companies are not under OSHA’s Jurisdiction. Those who are self-employed are not required to comply with OSHA regulations. Immediate family members of farm employers who do not employ outside employees are also not protected under these regulations. Companies with fewer than 10 workers are not required to maintain an injury and illness record. Finally, workers who are protected under another federal agency, like the Mine Safety and Health Administration and the Department of Energy, are not protected under OSHA.
The Department of Transportation (DOT) is a slightly different story. There is some crossover between the responsibilities of the DOT and OSHA. Trucking companies are subject to OSHA standards in areas where DOT has not regulated specific working conditions.
Employee Rights and Employer Requirements
Workers have many rights under OSHA. Employees can file confidential complaints with OSHA without fear of backlash from their employer. They can receive information and training regarding hazards that are specific to their working environment. They can also readily access records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
On the other hand, employers have many responsibilities under OSHA’s jurisdiction. While the list of regulations and requirements is extensive, here is just a taste of what is required:
- Prominently display the official “OSHA job safety and health, its the law” poster in the workplace.
- Inform workers about chemical or safety hazards through training, alarms, and labels.
- Provide comprehensive safety training in an accessible language.
- Keep accurate and complete records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
- Perform health and safety tests in the workplace when required.
- Provide necessary personal protective equipment (PPE) at no cost to workers.
- Provide hearing exams or other medical tests as required by OSHA standards.
- Post any OSHA citations and injury data where workers can easily view them.
- Notify OSHA within 8 hours of a workplace fatality and 24 hours of any work-related hospitalizations.
- Cannot retaliate against employees for reporting unsafe work conditions or work-related injuries.
For companies under OSHA’s jurisdiction, staying compliant with regulations can be very difficult, time-consuming, and confusing. A great way for employers to stay compliant is to reach out to an occupational health professional, like Work Health Solutions. Occupational health providers help you make sure your employees are safe and healthy. Reach out to learn more about the types of services Work Health Solutions offers!
How Can We Help?
Work Health Solutions offers comprehensive healthcare solutions for your medical needs. Our qualified team treats patients and employers alike and always provides top-quality service. Our quality service is backed by years of experience working with academic and research institutions, corporate healthcare, Fortune 25 companies, small governments, and local businesses. Reach out today with any questions you may have about how we can assist you!