Small business owners with fewer than 10 employees in low-risk, non-farming industries may be exempt from some Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reporting requirements. However, you’ll still have to follow OSHA regulations and are subject to certain OSHA inspections and even citations.
OSHA requirements for small businesses
Here are OSHA requirements for employers of small businesses (in non-farming, low-hazard industries with fewer than 10 employees):
- You must report to OSHA within eight hours any work-related incident resulting in a fatality or hospitalization of three or more employees
- You are subject to OSHA inspections for situations that can cause imminent danger, for health hazards like silica or lead, or based on employee complaints to OSHA
- OSHA can require you to maintain injury and illness records
OSHA exemptions for small businesses
On the other hand, you may be exempt from certain OSHA requirements:
- You may not be subject to routine, programmed OSHA safety inspections
- You may not have to keep written OSHA illness and injury records
OSHA’s four-point workplace program
According to OSHA, as a business owner, you are responsible for providing a safe and healthful workplace for your employees. To establishing a strong safety and health program for your small business, follow the OSHA four-point workplace program which entails:
- Management Commitment and Employee Involvement. The manager or management team leads the way, by setting policy, assigning and supporting responsibility, setting an example and involving employees.
- Worksite Analysis. The worksite is continually analyzed to identify all existing and potential hazards.
- Hazard Prevention and Control. Methods to prevent or control existing or potential hazards are put in place and maintained.
- Training for Employees, Supervisors, and Managers. Managers, supervisors, and employees are trained to understand and deal with worksite hazards.
Remember…if you’re a small, non-farming business in a low-hazard industry, OSHA can still inspect your work facility and issue citations. A partial exemption from certain OSHA record-keeping requirements and routine safety inspections does not mean you are not subject to OSHA regulations.
Read more in our Pie Insurance post Do small businesses have to follow OSHA? and refer to OSHA’s small business site and the OSHA small business handbook for more details. All situations vary, so be sure to check with an attorney to confirm which OSHA regulations apply to your business.