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What Employers Are Covered By OSHA?

The Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) covers most - but not all -employers and employees in the United States. The federal safety agency, which also works with states that have their own health and safety programs, regulates safety for nearly 8 million worksites and 130 million workers.

OSHA may be involved with health and safety regulation of these types of employers:

  • Private sector: Workers and employers are covered in every state, including Texas. OSHA may cover a private employer either directly through the federal OSHA program or through a state program approved by OSHA.
  • State and local government: These workers are not covered by the federal OSHA program, but they may have OSHA protections if they work in a state with a program approved by OSHA.
  • Federal government: Federal government workers are required to have a safety program that meets the same standards as private employers OSHA monitors federal agencies but does not fine them for violations.

Self-employed workers are not covered by OSHA. Neither are farm workers who work for an immediate family member on a farm that does not hire outside employees. Workers whose safety is regulated by another federal agency are also not subject to OSHA regulations. This includes, for example, the Mine Safety and Health Administration, the Coast Guard and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Because the agency covers such a large number of employers, it’s unable to inspect every worksite. Some types of employers are more likely to have dealings with OSHA than others, especially employers whose workers are exposed to dangers such as fall protection, heavy equipment, or confined spaces. For example, our law firm has found that inspections are more common for employers in food manufacturing, construction, health care and for employers with warehouses.

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