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Understanding who is protected by OSHA

In the past few posts, we’ve mentioned that OSHA does not have enough funds to visit every workplace in its jurisdiction. However, it is important to understand what Ohio employees are protected by OSHA.

In 1970, Congress passed the Occupational Safety and Health Act in order to protect workers from injury and death in the workplace. The act resulted in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, also known as OSHA. OSHA is responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards across the country. Workers in Ohio who would like to file a complaint or request a workplace safety inspection can do so by contacting one of Ohio’s four OSHA offices.

OSHA protects most workers in the United States, although self-employed individuals or relatives of employees of family-run farming businesses are not included. Additionally, employees covered by different government agencies, such as the Coast Guard or Federal Aviation Administration are not protected by OSHA.

While OSHA does not fine these agencies for lapses in safety and health, it does monitor their regulations and respond to any complaints made against them. Unlike many other government agencies, the United States Postal Service is covered by OSHA.

All private sector employees are covered by either Federal OSHA or an OSHA-approved state office. In order to maintain a consistent level of safety and health across the nation, all state-run OSHA programs must meet the standards of their federal counterpart. While state and local government employees are not covered by Federal OSHA, they are protected if they live in a state that has implemented an OSHA-approved program.

Source: United States Department of Labor, “Who OSHA Covers

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