Compliance Assistance Quick Start


Follow the steps below to identify some of the major OSHA requirements and guidance materials that may apply to your health care facility. These steps will lead you to resources on OSHA's Web site that will help you comply with OSHA requirements and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.

Step 1: OSHA Requirements That Apply to Many Health Care Employers

The following are some of the key OSHA standards that apply to many health care employers:

  1. Hazard Communication Standard. This standard is designed to ensure that employers and employees know about hazardous chemicals in the workplace and how to protect themselves. Employers with employees who may be exposed to hazardous chemicals in the workplace must prepare and implement a written Hazard Communication Program and comply with other requirements of the standard.
  2. Bloodborne Pathogens Standard. OSHA issued this standard to protect employees from the health hazards of exposure to bloodborne pathogens. Employers are subject to OSHA's Bloodborne Pathogens standard if they have employees whose jobs put them at reasonable risk of coming into contact with blood or other potentially infectious materials. Employers subject to this standard must develop a written exposure control plan, provide training to exposed employees, and comply with other requirements of the standard.
  3. Ionizing Radiation Standard. This standard applies to facilities that have an x-ray machine. It requires affected employers to conduct a survey of the types of radiation used in the facility, including x-rays, to designate restricted areas to limit employee exposure, and to require employees working in designated areas to wear personal radiation monitors. In addition, radiation areas and equipment must be labeled and equipped with caution signs.
  4. Exit Routes Standards. All employers must comply with OSHA's requirements for exit routes in the workplace.
  5. Electrical Standards. Electrical hazards, such as wiring deficiencies, are one of the hazards most frequently cited by OSHA. OSHA's electrical standards include design requirements for electrical systems and safety-related work practices. If you use flammable gases, you may need special wiring and equipment installation.
  6. Emergency Action Plan Standard. OSHA recommends that all employers have an Emergency Action Plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard. An Emergency Action Plan describes the actions employees should take to ensure their safety in a fire or other emergency situation.
  7. Fire Safety Standard. OSHA recommends that all employers have a Fire Prevention Plan. A plan is mandatory when required by an OSHA standard.
  8. Medical and First Aid Standard. OSHA requires employers to provide medical and first-aid personnel and supplies commensurate with the hazards of the workplace. The details of a workplace medical and first-aid program are dependent on the circumstances of each workplace and employer.
  9. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Employers must perform an assessment of each operation in their workplace to determine if their employees are required to wear PPE. Note that engineering controls and work practices are the preferred methods for protecting employees - OSHA generally considers PPE to be the least desirable means of controlling employee exposure.

This list is not comprehensive - additional OSHA standards may apply to your workplace. Be sure to review OSHA's general industry standards (29 CFR 1910) for other requirements. In addition, section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, known as the General Duty Clause, requires employers to provide their employees with a workplace that is free of recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.

  • You may review and print FREE copies of OSHA's general industry standards from OSHA's Web site (29 CFR 1910).
  • You may also order bound volumes of the standards from the Government Printing Office (GPO) at (866) 512-1800 or from GPO's website. To get the complete set of general industry standards from GPO, you will need to order the following two volumes: (1) Title 29, Parts 1900 to 1910 (section 1910.1 to 1910.999) and (2) Title 29, Part 1910 (sections 1910.1000 to end).

NOTE: To find the OSHA standards that are most frequently cited by OSHA inspectors, visit Frequently Cited OSHA Standards. On that page, you can find the most frequently cited federal or state OSHA standards based on your industry's North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code and the number of employees in your establishment.

Step 2: Other Hazards at Health Care Facilities

In addition to the hazards addressed in step 1, there are a number of other potential safety and health hazards at health care facilities. The following provides links to OSHA compliance assistance resources for some of these hazards.

  1. Ergonomic hazards. Some of the major ergonomic stressors at health care facilities include lifting and repositioning patients and lifting materials.
  2. Workplace violence. Health care workers face a significant risk of job-related violence. OSHA encourages employers to establish violence prevention programs and to track their progress in reducing work-related assaults.
  3. Slips, Trips, and Falls. Slips, trips, and falls are among the leading causes of injuries in health care facilities.
  4. Influenza.
  5. Tuberculosis.
  6. Emergency response hazards
  7. Chemical hazards. Health care employees may be exposed to a variety of chemicals on the job. The following provides information on how to prevent or reduce exposure to some of these chemicals.
  8. Other hazards

For more information on workplace safety and health hazards in health care facilities, see OSHA Safety and Health Topics Page: Healthcare.

Step 3: Survey Your Workplace for Additional Hazards

Survey your workplace for additional hazards and OSHA requirements by:

Step 5: Develop a Comprehensive Safety and Health Program

While OSHA does not require employers to develop comprehensive safety and health programs, development and implementation of these programs is an effective way to comply with OSHA standards and prevent workplace injuries and illnesses. The information you've obtained from the steps above is a good start for developing a comprehensive safety and health program.

For help in developing a program:

Learn how a safety and health program can add value to your organization:

Step 6: Train Your Employees

Learn about resources available from OSHA for training employers and employees by:

NOTE: A number of OSHA standards include employee training requirements. For a listing of these requirements, see Training Requirements in OSHA Standards OSHA Publication 2254, (2015). This publication also includes voluntary training guidelines that employers can use to help design, conduct, evaluate, and revise their safety and health training programs.

Step 7: Recordkeeping, Reporting, and Posting

  1. Recordkeeping. OSHA requires certain employers to keep records of workplace injuries and illnesses (29 CFR 1904).
    • First determine if you are exempt from the routine recordkeeping requirements. You are not required to keep OSHA injury and illness records (unless asked to do so in writing by OSHA or the Bureau of Labor Statistics) if:

      1) you had 10 or fewer employees during all of the last calendar year (29 CFR 1904.1); or

      2) you are in certain low-hazard industries (29 CFR Part 1904, Subpart B, Appendix A). NOTE: As of January 1, 2015, OSHA updated the list of industries that are partially exempt from keeping OSHA injury and illness records. See Updates to OSHA's Recordkeeping Rule. The following types of health care facilities are exempt from OSHA's injury and illness recordkeeping requirements, regardless of size:

      • Offices of Physicians (NAICS 6211)
      • Offices of Dentists (NAICS 6212)
      • Offices of Other Health Practitioners (NAICS 6213)
      • Outpatient Care Centers (NAICS 6214)
      • Medical and Diagnostic Laboratories (NAICS 6215)
    • If you do not qualify for these exemptions, you must comply with OSHA's recordkeeping requirements.
  2. Reporting Fatalities and Severe Injuries. All employers, regardless of size or industry, must report to OSHA all work-related fatalities within 8 hours. All employers must also report to OSHA all work-related inpatient hospitalizations, all amputations, and all loses of an eye within 24 hours.
  3. Electronic Submission of Injury and Illness Data. An OSHA rule requires certain employers to electronically submit certain injury and illness data through OSHA's Injury Tracking Application (ITA).
  4. OSHA Poster. All employers must post the OSHA Poster (or state plan equivalent) in a prominent location in the workplace. Download or order the OSHA Poster in English or Spanish, and other languages.
  5. Access to Employee Exposure and Medical Records. An OSHA standard (29 CFR 1910.1020) requires employers to provide employees, their designated representatives, and OSHA with access to employee exposure and medical records. Employers generally must maintain employee exposure records for 30 years and medical records for the duration of the employee's employment plus 30 years.

NOTE: If your workplace is in a state operating an OSHA-approved state program, state plan recordkeeping and reporting regulations, although substantially identical to federal ones, may have different exemptions or more stringent or supplemental requirements, such as for reporting of fatalities and catastrophes. Contact your state program directly for additional information.

Step 8: Find Additional Compliance Assistance Information

  1. Where can I find a collection of OSHA resources designed for smaller employers?
  2. Do you have Spanish-speaking employees?
  3. Do you employ temporary workers?
  4. Do you employ teen or young workers?
  5. How do I find out about OSHA's voluntary programs and other ways to work cooperatively with OSHA?
  6. How can I keep up to date on OSHA's compliance assistance resources?
  7. What if I still have questions?