In the State of Texas, contractors must be diligent when following the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA’s) rules and regulations. Texas is one of twenty-four states under federal OSHA jurisdiction. This means that the majority of private sector workers are required to observe the federal rules and regulations established in the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. As a contractor, it’s imperative that you follow these rules to a T, otherwise you risk exposing yourself to costly OSHA citations, stop-work orders, and more.
In this article, our Texas OSHA defense attorneys will break down some misconceptions about OSHA rules in the Lone Star State. Although it’s up to you to maintain a safe workplace that is clear of recognized hazards, the behavior and actions of your workforce are also your responsibility. You don’t have room to be lenient with workers that put themselves in peril. One honest mistake could lead to a project in limbo.
Does OSHA Apply to the Government?
This is a complex question. Although it may seem logical for OSHA’s rules and regulations to apply to those employed by the federal government, Texas state government, or any related agencies, it’s mainly aimed at workers in the private sector. OSHA covers the majority of private sector workers and employers in all fifty states, the District of Columbia, and various jurisdictions. If a state doesn’t have an OSHA-approved state plan, they must follow OSHA’s federal plan. Self-employed workers are not covered under the OSH Act.
State and local government workers aren’t covered by OSHA, but they do have certain OSH Act protections if their state is operating under an approved state plan. Federal government workers are protected by OSHA, but government agencies can’t be fined. They can, however, be audited to improve workplace safety. That said, federal workers must have protections on par with private sector employees. What does this mean for contractors working on public projects? Put simply, you aren’t technically a government employee so you need to ensure that you’re compliant with all OSHA rules and regulations. If that seems like a lot to handle, consider sitting down with some experienced Texas OSHA defense lawyers to formulate a plan.
Is OSHA Too Complex to Understand?
While OSHA’s rules and regulations are comprehensive and diverse, they aren’t complicated to the point of being indecipherable. Truly, the greatest detriment against OSHA’s rules is the fact that they are so robust that most contractors will be hard-pressed to commit them all to memory. Trying to rewire your brain to remember every OSHA regulation is a fruitless pursuit when a partnership with our Texas OSHA defense lawyers will suffice. Let a lawyer handle the mental legwork, so you can focus on completing your projects on time.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.