Small businesses may be exempt from certain OSHA requirements. If your business has 10 or fewer employees or is in a low-risk industry, you may not be required to keep records of work-related illnesses and injuries or be subject to routine OSHA inspections.
Who is Exempt from OSHA Regulations?
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) outlines which businesses are partially exempt from OSHA regulations. These exemptions are generally based on your company’s size, industry, business type, and location. Here’s a general overview of who is partially exempt from OSHA reporting requirements; however, to know for certain whether you are partially exempt, be sure to consult a lawyer.
Typically, if you have a small business with 10 or fewer employees, you do not have to keep OSHA safety records (unless OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics requests them in writing). OSHA bases your company size on your peak employment for the prior calendar year, so if you had no more than 10 employees last year, you would not have to keep records for the current year.
Even if you had more than 10 employees during the past calendar year, you may be partially exempt from OSHA record-keeping, depending on the risk level of your industry. Refer to OSHA’s list of low-risk industries to see if you’re exempt.
Additionally, people who are self-employed, farms that employ only family members, and employers of individual household workers may be exempt from certain OSHA requirements. Religious establishments also have limited exemptions, and government agencies are not regulated by OSHA.
Depending on your location, you may be under the jurisdiction of your state rather than OSHA, which is part of the United States Department of Labor. There are 22 states with OSHA-approved safety and health plans. Refer to the OSHA state plan map to find out whether your state maintains its own plan and what regulations you are required to follow.
No matter the size of your company or the risk of your industry, all work-related incidents resulting in the hospitalization of 3 or more employees or in the death of any employee must be reported to OSHA. And if OSHA suspects health hazards based on employee complaints, lead or silica hazards, or imminent danger, they can inspect at any time.