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Ask the expert: The fewer-than-10 rule and OSHA exemptions

Q: Our medical practice has fewer than 10 workers. Aren’t there some OSHA standards that we would not have to follow because of our size?

A: The fewer-than-10-employee  rule has nothing to do with whether an OSHA hazards standard applies to a workplace.

The rule may exempt some businesses from recordkeeping requirements [1], planned inspections, and in some isolated cases having a written plan (e.g., emergency action plans). But OSHA’s perspective is that if one employee is exposed to a hazard— for example, bloodborne pathogens [2]—it is the same as 100, and there must be compliance to all aspects of the standard.