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OSHA Coverage

The OSH Act covers private sector employers and their employees in the 50 states and certain territories and jurisdictions under federal authority. Those jurisdictions include the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, Johnston Island, and the Outer Continental Shelf Lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act.

The OSH Act covers employers and employees either directly through Federal OSHA or through an OSHA-approved state program.

Who is not covered

The OSH Act does not cover:

The self-employed;
Members of immediate family of farm employers that do not employ outside workers;
Worker conditions that are regulated under worker safety or health requirements of other federal agencies;
Employees of state and local governments; some states have their own occupational safety and health plans that cover these workers.

Federal worker coverage

Section 19 of the OSH Act makes federal agency heads responsible for providing safe and healthful working conditions for their employees. OSHA conducts federal workplace inspections in response to employee reports of hazards.

The OSH Act also requires federal agencies to comply with standards consistent with those for private sector employers. Under a 1998 amendment to the Act, it covers the U.S. Postal Service the same as any private sector employer.

Fed-OSHA Regions      
Region Contact Location Phone States Covered
Region 1 Boston 617-565-9860 CT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Region 2 New York 212-337-2378 NJ, NY, PR, USVI
Region 3 Philadelphia 215-861-4900 DC, DE, PA, VA, WV
Region 4 Atlanta 678-237-0400 AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN
Region 5 Illinois 312-353-2220 IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI
Region 6 Dallas 972-850-4145 AR, LA, NM, OK, TX
Region 7 Kansas City 816-283-8745 IA, KS, MO, NE
Region 8 Denver 720-264-6550 CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY
Region 9 San Francisco 415-625-2547 AZ, CA, NV
Region 10 Seattle 206-553-5930 AK, ID, OR, WA

State and local government worker coverage

OSHA provisions cover the private sector only. However, some states have their own OSHA-approved occupational safety and health programs. These state programs cover state and local government employees.

State Programs

State safety and health programs

State plans are OSHA-approved job safety and health programs operated by individual states instead of Federal OSHA. The OSH Act encourages states to develop and operate their own job safety and health plans and precludes state enforcement of OSHA standards unless the state has an approved plan. OSHA approves and monitors all state plans. The state plans must be at least as effective as Federal OSHA requirements.

State plans covering the private sector also must cover state and local government employees. OSHA rules also permit states and territories to develop plans that cover only public sector (state and local government) employees. In these cases, private sector employment remains under Federal OSHA jurisdiction. Twenty-two states and territories operate complete plans and four cover only the public sector. These states are listed below and on the OSHA website at

State program coverage

States with approved plans cover most private sector employees as well as state and local government workers in the state. Federal OSHA continues to cover federal employees and certain other employees specifically excluded from a state's plan; for example, in some states those who work in maritime industries and on military bases.

The following states have OSHA-approved State Plans:

State Approved OSHA Plans
Alaska adopts Federal, limited state-specific New Jersey Federal private sector
Arizona adopts Federal, some unique state-specific New Mexico adopts Federal, some unique state-specific
California state-specific New York Federal private sector
Connecticut Federal private sector North Carolina limited state-specific
Hawaii adopts most Federal, some unique state-specific Oregon state-specific
Illinois Federal private sector Puerto Rico adopts Federal
Indiana Adopts federal South Carolina adopts Federal, few exceptions
Iowa limited state-specific Tennessee limited state-specific
Kentucky state-specific Utah adopts Federal with supplements
Maryland adopts Federal, some unique state-specific Vermont adopts Federal, 2 state-specific
Michigan state- specific Virgin Islands Federal private sector
Minnesota adopts Fedferal, few state-specific Virginia adopts Federal, some unique state-specific
Nevada adopts Federal, few state-specific    

NOTE: The Connecticut, New Jersey, New York and Virgin Islands plans cover public sector (state and local government) employment only.