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What types of employees are covered under OSHA in Maryland?

As readers of this blog may know, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration is the federal agency tasked with setting safe workplace standards and fining those employers who violate those standards. It is a good companion to the workers' compensation system to ensure responsible parties are held responsible for workplace injuries.

But what you may not know is what types of workers are protected under the Occupational Safety and Health Act? While the following information is not legal advice, it should prove to be very helpful in understanding who is protected under OSHA.

Federal OSHA protects first and foremost, private sector workers. Most workers in Maryland and across the United States are private sector workers, meaning they do not work for the government and are not self-employed. In some states -- Maryland included -- there are state-run worker protection plans that protect private sector workers as well. These safety and health plans are required to be as effective as OSHA, if not more.

There are some exceptions to who may be covered, however. Self-employed individuals are not covered by OSHA, nor are close relatives of farmers.

State and local government employees are generally not protected by OSHA. However, if the state they work in has a state safety and health plan that is approved by OSHA, these workers will be protected under that plan. Maryland is one of these states.

For federal government employees, the agencies they work for are required to provide their employees with a health and safety plan that holds employers to the same expectations as private sector employers. These agencies will be monitored by OSHA, but will not be fined by OSHA. One exception is the United States Postal Service. The USPS is regulated by OSHA.

OSHA is effective in identifying and penalizing employers that violate federal safety standards. However, if an employee is injured at work, they can also pursue workers' compensation benefits. To learn more about both OSHA investigations, OSHA violations and the workers' compensation system, employees can consult with a professional.

Source:, "Workers' Rights," Accessed on Oct. 5, 2014

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