Minnesota OSHA - What Contractors Need to Know

Written by Kacie Goff

If you work in the construction industry or as a tradesman, you’re probably familiar with the  Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA. While some professionals see OSHA standards and regulations as overly rigorous, OSHA’s role in the industry is to keep workers safe and healthy. That’s a goal everyone should be able to get behind.

In Minnesota, though, on top of the federally applicable OSHA requirements, you also have to be concerned with Minnesota OSHA regulation. It’s well worth knowing and complying with these safety standards because MNOSHA completes more than 2,500 inspections each year. And if you get a citation, penalties can be stiff (we’re talking a fine of up to $70,000).

To help you out, we’ve rounded up the key differentiators between OSHA and MNOSHA, plus tips to help you comply with both. 

What’s the difference between Minnesota OSHA and federal OSHA?

OSHA regulation is your baseline. Any Minnesota OSHA-specific regulations on top of that are in place to provide an extra layer of health and safety protection. In other words, MNOSHA regulations are more rigorous than federal OSHA requirements.

Here are a few key differences:

AWAIR program MN

If you’re in a line of work that falls under one of these NAICS codes, you’re subject to regulation that requires you to develop and employ a workplace accident and injury reduction (AWAIR) program. 

If you’re not familiar with AWAIR program MN requirements, don’t worry. There’s a webpage to help you get up to speed. 

Personal protective equipment (PPE)

Per MNOSHA, employers need to provide (meaning they need to pay for and make available) all the necessary PPE for their employees to perform their jobs safely.

Other differences

MNOSHA also has specific right-to-know rules, bookkeeping and safety committee requirements, and more. For a fuller picture of the differences between OSHA and MNOSHA, visit this webpage from the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI). 

How do I comply with OSHA?

Great question — especially if you’re an employer or an independent contractor. You’re responsible for making sure you know the rules laid out to keep yourself and/or your employees safe. 

To help, you can take and/or have your employees take OSHA 10 or OSHA 30 courses. OSHA 10 courses are ten-hour courses designed for entry-level employees. OSHA 30 courses are 30-hour trainings that go deeper into OSHA requirements. 

How do I comply with MNOSHA?

Good news: you can use your continuing education hours to take DLI-approved courses that teach you about OSHA and MNOSHA regulations. This seven-hour residential contractor course, for example, counts toward your CE requirements and has a segment specifically focused on OSHA regulations for construction sites. 

By using your CE hours to complete what is essentially MN OSHA training, you can stay up to date on the laws and best practices pertaining to your specific workplace without taking more time than necessary from your main work.