Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), employers must provide their employees with a hazard-free work environment through a comprehensive set of standards that ensure compliance. Generally, most private sector employers and their employees are covered under OSHA.
However, there are exemptions to this rule. Exclusions from the rules and regulations enforced by OSHA include self-employed individuals, churches, federal and state governments and their political divisions, and businesses that are regulated by different federal statutes such as mining, nuclear power plants, businesses that do not engage in interstate commerce, domestic service employers, and farms that employ only immediate family members.
Businesses that have less than 10 employees are typically not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records unless OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics says otherwise. A business that meets OSHA’s low-hazard requirements, such as finance, retail, or real estate, may also qualify as partially exempt, thus they may also not be required to keep illness/injury records. However, all employers are required to report to OSHA any workplace event that caused the hospitalization or death of three (3) or more employees.
OSHA also encourages each state to establish and enforce its own health and safety plans, which OSHA approves and monitors. This state plan must be at least as comprehensive as the federal plan, and while most plans are identical to the federal plan, some may cover hazards the federal plan does not and some states have different criteria as to which businesses are exempt from state coverage. In Illinois, the state plan covers only state and government workers, private sector employers and their employees are covered by federal OSHA guidelines.
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries due to negligence on the job site or a defective product, an experienced personal injury lawyer can review your claim and determine if there were unsafe working conditions, potential OSHA violations, and other hazards that may have existed at the time of your accident. They will also determine who may be liable for your injuries and damages and what compensation you may be entitled to.
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