Ask the Expert, Enforcement and Inspection

Ask the Expert: Location, Location, Location

Our experts at EHS Hero® recently received a subscriber-submitted question regarding OSHA regulations and how they apply to workers operating across multiple states. If a company’s headquarters are in a state covered by a State Plan, do those same regulations apply when employees are working beyond state lines? Read on to see what our experts had to say.

OSHA state plan
Dmitry Kalinovsky /

Q: We operate a service department that performs field work in California, along with other surrounding states. Are our workers all covered by our Cal/OSHA regulations or by the state, or federal-if there is no State Plan, for where they are performing the work?

A: Employees are covered by the regulations in the state they are working in. For example, when employees are working in the state of California, their employer would be required to comply with Cal/OSHA regulations. When employees are working in a different state that also has a federal OSHA-approved State Plan, employers would be required to comply with that particular state’s regulations. In states for which there is no State Plan and where federal OSHA has jurisdiction, the federal regulations must be followed. State Plans are at least as stringent, or in some cases more so, than the federal OSHA requirements. Therefore, employers may choose to establish internal rules and procedures that meet or exceed all state and federal requirements in order to remain compliant across multiple states.

Other than California, the states and jurisdictions that have OSHA-approved State Plans covering private and state/local government workplaces include Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wyoming. In other states, private sector employers must follow the federal OSHA regulations.   

Ask the Expert is a service provided to subscribers of BLR®’s EHS Hero product, where experts are ready with answers to your organization’s unique questions surrounding EHS compliance. To learn more and request a trial of EHS Hero, click here.

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