January 2012 - Osha is Not...


OSHA is Not… 

OSHA is not Workmen’s Compensation. Unfortunately, many people equate OSHA with workmen’s comp. The only connection is that sometimes cases that are reportable under the OSHA recordkeeping standard may also qualify for workmen’s comp. On the other hand, many cases that are compensable under workmen’s comp are not required to be reported on the OSHA 300 Log. 

OSHA does not cover those persons who are self employed. If you are a one man/woman show, you are not covered under OSHA. OSHA only covers situations where there is an employee employer relationship. Remember that temporary employees who are under your direction are classed as your employees even though they may not be on your payroll. 

OSHA is not in the farming business. Farms that are family owned and operated by immediate family members are not covered under the OSHA standards. As with the previous statement, if you hire temporary help and establish an employee employer relationship, then you will be under OSHA jurisdiction. 

OSHA does not concern itself with the legality of the workforce. OSHA is only concerned with the safety of the workers. The standards do not specify that only legal or authorized workers are covered. Instead, it covers all workers regardless of their status. All workers are protected equally under the OSHA standards. 

OSHA is not a labor mediator. Disputes between labor and management are best decided by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. This is a Federal agency under the Department of Labor. They investigate and adjudicate issues concerning equal opportunity for employment, fair treatment of employees, etc. 

OSHA does not cover all employee employer relationships. Workers who labor in the mining industry are covered by the Mine Safety and Health Administration, a sister organization to OSHA also under the Department of Labor. Workers who are covered by other labor or safety requirements are not covered by OSHA. An example would be the nuclear industry which is covered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. 

OSHA was created to make sure that all workers have a safe and healthy work environment. The OSHA standards have been written in the blood of many unfortunate workers. Reducing workplace injuries and fatalities reduces pain and suffering for both workers and their families and strengthens the bottom line for employers. It would be wise for all employers to take a look at the OSHA web site to review the Safety Pays section. This informative section gives easy to follow formulas that can show employers in dollars and cents what accidents cost.