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Physical therapy OSHA Compliance is of utmost importance when running a sound private practice.  So many practice owners think it’s ‘overkill’ or ‘we aren’t a hospital, so why do we have to do these things?’.  OSHA addresses and provides regulation to ensure the safety of patients, therapist and employees within your practice.

What do we need physical therapy OSHA compliance?

Plainly stated….it’s the law.

According to The United States Department of Labor:

“The mission of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is to assure safe and healthy working conditions for working men and women by developing, setting and enforcing standards and by providing outreach, education, training and compliance assistance. Under the law, employers have the responsibility to provide a safe workplace.”  

In reality, as a healthcare provider, you should want to provide the safest environment of healing for not just your patients, but your staff as well.

OSHA Violations & Penalties:

 The most common physical therapy OSHA compliance violations are:

  • Failure to train on the Bloodborne Pathogens Standard.
  • Failure to implement and maintain Bloodborne Pathogens & Hazard. Communication Plan
  • Failure to keep training records.
  • Failure to keep a Sharps Injury Log.
  • Failure to provide Safety Data Sheets.
  • Failure to train on the Hazard Communication Standard.

Penalty Administration

OSHA uses four (4) classification for penalty administration. The DeMinimus classification is not elaborated upon as it only results in the Agency documenting a minor infraction of the business or entity. However, the following three categories do have significant penalties per violation:


A willful violation exists under the OSH Act where an employer has demonstrated either an intentional disregard for the requirements of the Act or a plain indifference to employee safety and health. Penalties range from $5,000 to $70,000 per willful violation. If an employer is convicted of a willful violation of a standard that has resulted in the death of an employee, the offense is punishable by a court-imposed fine or by imprisonment for up to 6 months, or both. A fine of up to $250,000 for an individual, or $500,000 for a corporation, may be imposed for a criminal conviction.


Section 17(k) of the OSHA Act provides that “a serious violation shall be deemed to exist in a place of employment if there is a substantial probability that death or serious physical harm could result from a condition which exists, or from one or more practices, means, methods, operations, or processes which have been adopted or are in use, in such place of employment unless the employer did not, and could not with the exercise of reasonable diligence, know of the presence of the violation.” OSHA may propose a penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation.


This type of violation is cited in situations where the accident/incident or illness that would be most likely to result from a hazardous condition would probably not cause death or serious physical harm but would have a direct and immediate relationship to the safety and health of employees. OSHA may impose a penalty of up to $7,000 for each violation.

OSHA will also create press releases to “shame” businesses that have violations, letting the public know about their wrongdoing.

Learn More or Get Help!

It’s not worth it to put your patients and staff at risk by not having physical therapy OSHA compliance.  To learn more or to better understand how OSHA compliance plays a role in your over all outpatient physical therapy compliance requirements, contact Alicia N. Mahoney at 713-899-9812 or schedule time for a free compliance program overview.