FAQ Friday - February 2023

This FAQ Friday is focused on questions about OSHA.

If you have any hazard communication questions or safety questions about common chemicals, ask in the comments below or send an email to contact@ariadne-hces.com.

Do I have to follow OSHA if I only have a few employees? Do I have to follow OSHA if I have less than 15 employees?

Once you have an employee, if it is just one person, OSHA regulations begin to apply.

There are a few exceptions to specific rules, including a partial exemption for employers with 10 or fewer employees when it comes to some of the record-keeping requirements.

It is best to review what OSHA regulations may apply to your business when in the planning stages, as the regulations do vary somewhat by industry and specialization. It is also important when expanding or shifting the focus of your business, to check if there are any new OSHA regulations to consider.

Where can I find OSHA Regulations and Resources? How do I figure out OSHA as a small business?

There is an electronic version of the Code of Federal Regulations. Here is the OSHA Section.

OSHA has you covered with Small Business Resources for helping small businesses. 

There are also many blogs and articles, including the AHCES Blog, which have resources and guides for helping business owners and employees alike understand OSHA regulations.

If you need legal advice, seek a consult with a lawyer specializing in OSHA related claims.

What is the difference between State OSHA and Federal OSHA? Do I have to follow State OSHA?

Federal OSHA is run by the United States Federal Government as part of the Department of Labor. Federal OSHA sets the minimum requirements for workplace safety and health programs. By default, self-employed persons, state/local government workers, and workers covered by other federal programs are not covered by OSHA. It is primarily focused on private employers/employees.

State OSHA is run by an individual State Government (or US Territory Government). Each State OSHA may have additional clarifications amended to the Federal OSHA regulations or may impose additional or stricter requirements. The State OSHA may not have less stringent requirements.

Some State OSHA programs only cover State and Local Government Employees, with Private Sector Employees remaining under Federal OSHA.

State/Local Government Employee Only State OSHA Programs are:

  • Connecticut
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Virgin Islands

Some State OSHA programs cover most Private Sector Employees and all State and Local Government Employees.

Private Sector and State/Local Government State OSHA Programs are:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Hawaii
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • Oregon
  • Puerto Rico
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

OSHA has a Resource Center for State Plans, including relevant contact information.

When starting your business, expanding, or moving locations, check if your State has a State OSHA program.


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