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Businesses Subject to OSHA

The Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSHA) applies to most businesses. The Act covers all employers and their employees throughout the United States and its territories either through the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or through a state program approved by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. However, there are some exemptions from OSHA.

Any business with employees is likely to be covered by OSHA unless the business is in a specific category exempted from application of the Act. There is a partial exemption for businesses with ten or fewer employees in the sense that such businesses are not subject to programmed inspections if they are in certain low-hazard industries and are not subject to injury and illness reporting. The low-hazard industries include businesses such as galleries and museums, offices for real estate or securities agents or brokers, retail stores and banks, auto dealerships and gas stations, and restaurants and bars.

Otherwise, businesses or employers excluded from application of OSHA include only:

    • self-employed persons;


  • family farms without employees from outside the immediate family;



  • churches;



  • federal and state governments and their political subdivisions;



  • businesses with no connection such as use of telephones or the mail to a broadly defined interstate commerce; and



  • businesses with working conditions regulated under other federal statutes, such as mining or nuclear power companies.



Businesses which employ persons, as indicated by payment of wages, power to control the actions of the employee, and ability to fire the employee, are subject to OSHA. In a situation in which several businesses at one job site may share authority or control over employees, the employer considered responsible for meeting OSHA obligations is likely to be determined by which employer is considered by the employers and the employee as responsible for controlling and having the power to control the employee.

Copyright 2012 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc.