How Do OSHA Standards Apply to the Military? Here is Answer!

Written by

John Cotton


Logan Miller

how do osha standards apply to the military

In every organization, there are certain standards that must be implemented and followed. Those in employment, for instance, are no stranger to OSHA rules.

How do OSHA standards apply to the military? In short, they are important but do not have the highest priority for the army.

To understand more about OHSA regulations in the armed forces, keep on reading!

OSHA Standards for the Military

Executive Order 12196, or the Occupational Safety and Health Programs for Federal Employees, asserts that the military is exempt from OSHA regulations in terms of its unique military operations, systems, equipment, and national defense activities.

Hence, there are the minimum standards adopted by the Army for work that falls outside of these categories. Specifically, the armed forces follow regulations concerning jobs commonly seen in the private sector, such as administrative work or civil engineering.

Military equipment exempted from OSHA regulations:

  • Military tactical vehicles
  • Tanks
  • Ships
  • Submarines
  • Aircraft
  • Missiles
  • Artilleries

Unique military operations are:

  • Naval Operations
  • Military Flight Operations
  • Field Maneuvers
  • Development and Research Test Activities
  • Actions In Emergency Conditions

Since OSHA standards not apply Army entirely, we’ll have to look in the Army Safety Program (AR 385-10) instead.

What is the Army Safety Program?


It is a set of regulations that ensures army activities are safe and organized and follows risk management throughout. In other words, these federal and DOD regulations apply specifically to the army.

Moreover, the program incorporates OSHA requirements into the Army. Hence, safety at army training grounds is improved through coordination between military officers and OSHA inspectors.

Here are some specifications of the Army Safety Program:

  • Ensure the safety and health of all Army personnel and workplaces
  • Manage, plan, and approve budgeting for safety programs
  • As this regulation requires, members must be part of committees and become board members for safety and occupational health groups.
  • Ensure the strict supervision of The Chemical Demilitarization Program and required chemicals
  • Monitor army equipment, from testing, distribution, to hazard assessment and storage
  • There must be a synchronization between the army’s safety and occupational health directives and efforts with those of the Secretary of Defense.
  • Incorporate safety training into army schools

What Does OSHA Mean?


OSHA is an international standard that is recognized all over the world. Its acronym means The Occupational Safety and Health Administration. It is based in the United States of America, which is the country responsible for enforcing the OSHA act.

The regulations OSHA sets up to ensure workers’ well-being should be followed at all times. Moreover, the organization develops rules for proper hazard training and education to enhance the safety of every workplace.

Legally, employers must follow standards from the occupational safety and health act OSHA, such as by providing safety equipment and medical examinations.

What Are OSHA Regulations?

Here are some examples of OSHA regulations that are implemented in different workplaces:

  • Electrical Code and Standards: In every workplace, there must be proper electrical standards and designs. For example, wires must be intact; equipment must be functional; and safeguards against ground faults and overcurrents must be in place.
  • Fire Prevention and Protection: There must be proper fire equipment at the workplace. A fire exit must be available in the work building, though some structures may require two or more. Also, fire extinguishers, sprinkler systems, and fire alarms should be functioning well.
  • PPE or Personal Protective Equipment: PPEs should be provided in your workplace. Depending on the nature of your job, it is important to wear clothing such as boots, jackets, goggles, hard hats, and more. They will provide protection against blasts, debris, accidental falls, and other fatal incidents that can occur.
  • Protection Of Serious And Potentially Fatal Equipment. There must be machine guards so that potential injuries for workers and bystanders can be prevented. Some examples of these guards are gates that prevent access or restraint components that halt equipment usage.
  • Provide Training. OSHA standards must be known to employees. These include proper training and awareness of labor rights.

Frequently Asked Questions


Do OSHA regulations apply to federal government agencies?

Yes, OSHA developed basic program elements for federal agencies. In Sec. 19 of the OSH Act, it mandates that employers follow OSHA requirements applicable for federal agencies.

Workers working in federal agencies must be safe and protected against risk and health hazards by their employers.

Who do OSHA regulations apply to?

OSHA regulations apply to private employers and their employees in the United States. There are cases of exemption to OSHA regulations, such as one concerning the US Army.

Can OSHA fine the Army?

No, OSHA cannot impose penalties and sanctions against the army if the latter does not follow its standards. They have exclusive exemptions for implementing OSHA standards in the workplace.

Does OSH Act protect employees from being fired?

Yes, OSHA Act protects employees from being fired according to Section 11. It gives workers the right to report safety violations without fear of retaliation. If the employers wrongfully terminate them, they can file a complaint.


You now know how do OSHA standards apply to the military. Following OSHA standards is not a must, but highly suggested. If you recently enlisted, you should be aware of the rules of your workplace.

And if you are not part of the army, you can still practice precautions for your own well-being as well as for others.

It won’t hurt if you read OSHA standards as well. Knowing labor rights is always beneficial.

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