In a memorandum dated January 30, 2015, OSHA announced an update to Appendix A of its “Enforcement Exemptions and Limitations under the Appropriation Act” Directive (CPL 02-00-051) for 2015. Appendix A outlines the list of small employers who are exempted from safety programmed inspection under the “Appropriation Act” exemption.

Under the terms of the Appropriations Act, limitations are placed on OSHA’s authority over small employers in low-hazard industries. Employers in low-hazard industries who currently have ten or less employees, and who had ten or less employees at all times over the previous 12 months, are exempt from programmed inspections for that calendar year. Low-hazard industries are identified by the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Codes for industries with a Days Away, Restricted, or Transferred (DART) occupational injury and illness rate below the national private sector rate of 1.7 per 100 workers for 2013.

Before conducting a programmed safety inspection, the CSHO must determine whether or not the employer is exempt under the Appropriate Act exemption and if the employer is exempt, the CSHO should not conduct the planned program inspection. Dr. Michaels advises CSHOs to be vigilant in choosing the correct NAICS code.

Exemption privileges for small employers do not apply if an inspection is triggered by a complaint from a current employee, concerns alleging imminent danger or health hazards, or employment accidents involving a fatality of one or more employees or hospitalization of two or more employees.

Some industries whose small employers have newly earned the exemption from programmed inspections for 2015 include:

  • solar power generation plants (NAICS 221119),
  • tile and terrazzo contractors (NAICS 238340),
  • industrial gas manufacturing (NAICS 325120),
  • convenience stores (NAICS 445120), and
  • pump and pumping equipment manufacturers (NAICS 333911).

Some industries whose small employers lost the exemption include:

  • natural gas distribution (NAICS 221210),
  • power and communication line construction (NAICS 237130),
  • electrical contractors (NAICS 238210),
  • painting and wall covering contractors (NAICS 238320),
  • breakfast cereal manufacturing (NAICS 311230), and
  • plumbing fixture manufacturing (NAICS 332913),

The memorandum and updated Appendix A may be viewed on OSHA’s website.