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Southwest HVAC News Guest Column

Regulatory Compliance Fact or Fiction?
by L. P. Coston, Ph.D., Certified Safety and Health Professional.
To determine if your HVAC business is subject to Regulatory Compliance it is necessary to identify what is Regulatory Compliance. Unlike many governmental topics, Regulatory Compliance is straight forward and "spelled out" in the Code of Federal Regulations. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the agency responsible for Regulatory Compliance enforcement; and, has many tools at its disposal for compliance enforcement. 

There are guidelines set forth, for both employer and employee, these criteria are: "SEC. 5 Duties (a) Each employer (1) shall furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which is free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees. (2) shall comply with occupational safety and health standards promulgated under\ this Act. 29 USC 654 (b) Each employee shall comply with occupational safety and health standards and all rules, regulations, and orders issued pursuant to this Act which are applicable to his own actions and conduct." A first statement from an HVAC business owner may be, "I'm a small business, and therefore, I am not subject to Regulatory Compliance." Or, "As a small business, am I subject to Regulatory Compliance?"

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The answer is: If you have employees, you are probably subject to Regulatory Compliance. If you have no employees you generally are not covered, although in some cases businesses that are 'nonemployee' businesses, such as an independent contractor, are subject to the requirements. 

As a practical matter, small employers (with 10 or less employees) are exempt from programmed inspections and injury/ illness reporting on the so-called OSHA 300 Log. However, this does not mean that your business is not subject to other requirements. There are certain prescribed exemptions to the Act that created Regulatory Compliance. 

These include: self-employed persons; farms at which only immediate family members of the farmer's family are employed; those whose working conditions are regulated by other federal agencies under other federal statutes; persons who employ others in their own homes to perform domestic services such as housekeeping and child care; churches and nonsecular church activities; and, states and political subdivisions (however, some state plans cover public employees). Unless your HVAC business fits these criteria it is probably subject to Regulatory Compliance. 

Prepared by L. P. Coston, Ph.D., Certified Safety and Health Professional. For further information email: trinbotm@ gmail.com.


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