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Why we are here

The Oregon Safe Employment Act - It's why we are here

Enacted by the legislature in 1973, the Oregon Safe Employment Act is the heart for workplace safety and health in Oregon. The act ensures safe and healthful working conditions for all working Oregonians and authorizes Oregon OSHA to enforce the state's workplace safety and health rules.

We don’t expect you to read all 13,000 words in the act, but you might want to take a few minutes to read the 400 words in sections 654.010 through 654.022. They require you to provide your employees with a safe and healthful workplace – one of the most important things you can do for them.

What workplaces do we inspect?

The Safe Employment Act gives Oregon OSHA the authority to inspect Oregon workplaces for safety or health hazards. The legal term for this authority is called jurisdiction. Most Oregon employers are under Oregon OSHA’s jurisdiction, which means our compliance officers have a legal right to inspect their workplaces. However, some Oregon employers are not under our jurisdiction. 

They include:

  • Independent contractors, sole proprietors, and partnerships that have no workers’ compensation insurance coverage and no employees.
  • Corporations that have an owner as the sole employee and have no workers’ compensation insurance coverage.
  • Corporate family farms that employ only family members.

In addition, Oregon OSHA does not have jurisdiction over: 

  • Most maritime operations on navigable waters
  • Commercial diving activities originating from an object afloat 
  • Construction activities on floating vessels in navigable waters 
  • The U.S. Postal Service 
  • U.S. military installations 
  • Tribal and Indian-owned enterprises

More information about Oregon OSHA’s jurisdiction is on our Jurisdiction page.

Did you know?
Oregon OSHA is an OSHA-approved State Plan state that covers both private sector and state and local government employers. State Plans are monitored by OSHA and must be at least as effective as OSHA in protecting workers and in preventing work-related injuries, illnesses, and deaths. Then-Gov. Tom McCall signed an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor on March 11, 1971, that made Oregon the second State Plan state in the union (after South Carolina).