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Do OSHA Regulations Apply to Independent Contractors?

In a 2001 standard interpretation letter, Russell Swanson, then-director of OSHA’s Directorate of Construction, made it clear that self-employed workers are not subject to OSHA’s construction safety standards. “If a construction worker is truly self-employed — is not an employee — and has no employees working for him or her, OSHA has no authority to require that individual to abide by OSHA construction requirements,” Swanson wrote. That seems simple enough. After all, the construction safety standards devised and enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were built to protect employees. Independent contractors aren’t employees, as any tax professional will tell you. But what about subcontractors working under a general contractor? What about equal partners on the same job site?… Continue Reading