There are several types of companies that are not required to follow OSHA’s strict guidelines in terms of workplace safety.
OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Act, was established in 1970. The goal of the act was to ensure that every employee had access to a safe workplace that was free of hazards and dangerous elements that may have an adverse effect on their health. The act provides a very strict set of standards that employers must comply with in order to keep their workers safe. There are certain exceptions, however, that exempt some companies from being included under OSHA’s guidelines.
Jack Smart, who provides outsourced IT support in Denver and CEO of Initial IT shares some of his lessons with OSHA.
While most companies are required to comply with OSHA’s standards and guidelines, there are some that are not. Individuals who are self-employed, political offices, city/state/federal government offices and departments, as well as churches do not have to worry about remaining in compliance with OSHA. Companies that do not actively participate in any type of interstate trade or commerce are also exempt. Family farms offer another type of exception, primarily because only family members work there.
#2 Exemptions for Record-Keeping
Record-keeping exemptions start to come into play when a company has fewer than ten employees at any given time. Companies that have more than ten employees on a regular basis are required to keep records of illnesses and injuries on a yearly basis and turn those records over to OSHA. If a company doesn’t continually employ ten or more people, they may fall under the heading of partially exempt, especially if their workplace is not considered to be overly hazardous. This can include real estate companies, insurance agencies, service-oriented companies, financial institutions, and some retail spaces. The lower the risk, the less likely you will be required to fill out the injury/illness paperwork.
#3 More Than One Employer
There are certain situations in which an employee works for two companies at one time. If the person is injured on the job, the first step is to determine who the employee feels is their primary employer. Next, it must be determined who was in actual control of the employee at the time of the injury, who was paying their wages at the time, and who was in control of the environment where the injury occurred. All of these things will be taken into consideration when determining who OSHA must report to.
#4 State Safety Plans
Even though state governments do not have to traditionally comply with OSHA guidelines, most are encouraged to have their own safety plans and programs in place to help protect their employees. Out of all 50 states, only 22 have safety plans in place that have been approved by OSHA. Some of the state plans are able to provide coverage for certain types of hazards that OSHA, itself, does not. Some states have also changed the criteria when it comes to exemptions for various types of businesses and who must remain in compliance.
#5 Fines and Penalties
For companies who disregard OSHA’s guidelines and fail to remain compliant, penalties of up to $70,000 can be issued against them. Violations incur a minimum of $5,000 per offense. Citations can also be issued that would add additional fees and penalties. If a company turns in fraudulent or face documents, the fines and penalties will continue to increase in addition to facing criminal charges.
Complying with OSHA’s regulations is a must. Companies who do not have exempt status, face stiff fines and penalties every time a guideline or regulation is violated. It’s essential that companies know whether or not they are exempt and keep a copy of the OSHA guidelines on hand at all times so they can check if on guidelines if something is brought into question.