Do I Have to Follow OSHA Guidelines?

A Tuesday Tip subscriber recently ask us if assisted living providers must follow the OSHA guidelines.  The short answer, is yes.  Congress created the Occupational Safety and Health Administration in 1970 with the mission “to assure safe and healthful working conditions for working men and women by setting and enforcing standards and by providing training, outreach, education and assistance.”  The Occupational Safety and Health Act (which created OSHA) “covers most private sector employers and their workers, in addition to some public sector employers and workers in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority.”

Here is even further explanation on OSHA coverage from

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Who OSHA Covers

Private Sector Workers
Most employees in the nation come under OSHA’s jurisdiction. OSHA covers private sector employers and employees in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other U.S. jurisdictions either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program. State-run health and safety programs must be at least as effective as the Federal OSHA program.

State and Local Government Workers
Employees who work for state and local governments are not covered by Federal OSHA, but have OSH Act protections if they work in a state that has an OSHA-approved state program. Four additional states and one U.S. territory have OSHA approved plans that cover public sector employees only. This includes: Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, and the Virgin Islands. Private sector workers in these four states and the Virgin Islands are covered by Federal OSHA.

Federal Government Workers
Federal agencies must have a safety and health program that meet the same standards as private employers. Although OSHA does not fine federal agencies, it does monitor federal agencies and responds to workers’ complaints. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is covered by OSHA.

Not covered by the OSH Act:

  • Self-employed;
  • Immediate family members of farm employers that do not employ outside employees; and
  • Workplace Hazards regulated by another Federal agency (for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Coast Guard).

Click here to learn more about OSHA coverage and requirements.

3 Responses to “Do I Have to Follow OSHA Guidelines?”

  1. This has been a focus area of concern for our business the past year and a half after discovering that we were not in full compliance. Under the voluntary inspection process you get a visit from a qualified staff member who will provide free advice for compliance – but will not issue a citation! Enforcement can arrive without warning and – is likely to cite with fines. While seeking a voluntary consultation will not insure you will never be visited by enforcement it may well reduce your exposure in the event you are visited. Just finished our second consultation meeting in 18 months – and feeling more confident than ever about our compliance – and protection from an expensive citation.

  2. Great suggestion, Wade!

  3. In reference to Mr. Elliot’s comment, I have heard that if you have the voluntary consultation, that OSHA will not come out to inspect unless there is a reported problem for a period of time….12 or 18 months? I am uncertain if this is true, but the source who shared this with me thought it was a good way to avoid citations from a routine inspection if one just kept requesting voluntary inspections with routine frequency. This of course would not cover if they had cause to come.Does anyone know if this is true and how often you can request the voluntary consultations?

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