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Small Business
OSHA encourages all businesses to establish safety and health programs and find and fix hazards to prevent workplace injuries and illnesses.   OSHA offers many resources designed specifically for smaller employers. This site provides access to the most popular materials for small businesses, from free on-site consultation to interactive computer software to technical information to easy-to-follow guides for specific OSHA standards. It also includes links to OSHA local offices and the Small Business Administration.

OSHA's Non-Retaliation Policy

OSHA has a long-established policy that information inquiries received by the agency regarding safety and health regulations or other safety-related subjects shall not trigger an inspection. The exact wording is:

"Employer Contacts
. Contacts for information initiated by employers or their representatives shall not trigger an inspection, nor shall such employer inquiries protect them against regular inspections conducted pursuant to guidelines established by the agency. Further, if an employer or its representatives indicates that an imminent danger exists or that a fatality or catastrophe has occurred, the Area Director shall act in accordance with established inspection priority procedures."

There are a few rare exceptions to the policy, such as the employer notifying OSHA of the presence of an imminent danger or the occurrence of a fatality. However, OSHA policy is to provide assistance to help employers prevent and reduce workplace fatalities, illnesses and injuries.

Please note
: OSHA’s non-retaliation policy is outlined in the OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-103 (CPL 2.103), Field Inspection Reference Manual, Section 5 - Chapter I, B.4.b.

Penalty Reductions for Small Business

OSHA considers the size of the employer, among other factors when determining the penalty to be proposed for any violation. The Agency has always had detailed procedures in place for making this determination; they are currently embodied in Chapter IV of the Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM; OSHA Instruction CPL 2.103), which is conveyed to and followed by all compliance staff.

The FIRM provides that proposed penalties will be reduced by the following percentages in considering employer size:
  • a 60% penalty reduction may be applied if an employer has 25 employees or fewer;
  • 40% if the employer has 26-100 employees; and
  • 20% if the employer has 101-250 employees.
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New OSHA's $afety Pays Program
helps employers estimate injury and illness costs.

OSHA $afety Pays Program

Safety and Health Add Value
OSHA is committed to assuring - so far as possible - that every working man and woman in the nation has safe and healthful working conditions. OSHA believes that providing workers with a safe workplace is central to their ability to enjoy health, security and the opportunity to achieve the American dream. Addressing safety and health issues in the workplace also saves the employer money and adds value to the business. Recent estimates place the business costs associated with occupational injuries at close to $170 billion-expenditures that come straight out of company profits.

When workers stay whole and healthy, the direct cost-savings to businesses include:
  • lower workers' compensation insurance costs;
  • reduced medical expenditures;
  • smaller expenditures for return-to-work programs;
  • fewer faulty products;
  • lower costs for job accommodations for injured workers;
  • less money spent for overtime benefits.
Safety and health also make big reductions in indirect costs, due to:
  • increased productivity;
  • higher quality products;
  • increased morale;
  • better labor/management relations;
  • reduced turnover;
  • better use of human resources.
Employees and their families benefit from safety and health because:
  • their incomes are protected;
  • their family lives are not hindered by injury;
  • their stress is not increased.
Implementing an accident prevention program will allow a small business to learn first hand that the cost of accident prevention is far lower then the cost of accidents. Consultation offers free help in identifying workplace hazards and establishing or improving safety and health management systems corporate-wide.

Accessibility Assistance: Contact the OSHA Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs at 202-693-2200 for assistance accessing PDF materials.

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Page last updated: 02/14/2008