OSHA Small Business Exemptions ChangedIn late January of 2016, OSHA updated their list of industries that have certain occupational injury and illness rates below the national private sector rate of 1.7, as part of the North American Industry Classifications System (NAICS). NAICS is an appendix to the Enforcement Exemptions and Limitations subsection of the Appropriations Act. Businesses with fewer than ten employees who rank on this list are exempt from certain health and safety inspections.

Newly Exempt Small Businesses

There are over 400 industries included in the list of exempt small businesses. Although small businesses in these industries may not be subject to the same health and safety inspections as those in more dangerous ones, they still will need to maintain a high level of health and safety awareness in order to ensure the wellbeing of their workers.  Some of the industries that are newly exempt from inspections are:

  • Electrical contractors and wiring installation contractors
  • Soybean and other oilseed processing
  • Inorganic chemical manufacturing
  • A number of retail industries including boat dealers, motorcycle dealers, floor covering stores, electronics stores, meat markets, fish and seafood markets, tobacco stores and vending machines
  • Farm product warehousing and storing
  • Residential and Nonresidential property managers
  • Marinas
  • Full-service restaurants, cafeterias, buffets and snack bars

Small Businesses No Longer Exempt

Several of the industries deemed exempt in the last revision of the list are no longer counted as exempt from OSHA inspections. This means that they will have to update their business plans accordingly and focus more heavily on regulatory compliance in the future.  Those include:

  • Heavy and civil engineering construction
  • Retail bakeries
  • Industrial gas manufacturing
  • Medicinal and botanical manufacturing
  • Retailers including RV dealers, household appliance stores, all manner of electronics and computer stores, paint and wallpaper stores, fruit and vegetable markets, and beer, wine and liquor stores
  • Investment and securities dealing, securities brokerage, commodity contracts dealing, and commodity contracts brokerage
  • Pension funds, health and welfare funds, and other insurance funds
  • Veterinary services