Rivermate | American Samoa flag

American Samoa

Health and Safety Standards

Explore workplace health and safety laws in American Samoa

Health and safety laws

Health and safety laws in American Samoa prioritize protecting the health of its residents and ensuring safe workplaces. These laws are influenced by both federal regulations and specific territorial legislation.

Key Areas of Regulation

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH) in American Samoa aims to ensure safe and healthy working conditions. It sets standards for various industries and enforces those standards as needed.

The American Samoa Public Health Act is the primary legislation governing public health. Some areas of regulation under this Act include food safety & hygiene, communicable diseases, and water & sanitation.

Environmental health regulations aim to control pollution, manage hazardous substances, and protect the environment, impacting both public health and workplace safety. Relevant laws include the American Samoa Coastal Management Act.

Certain industries may have specific safety laws in addition to general OSH regulations. Some examples include construction and maritime.

Relevant Agencies

The American Samoa Department of Health (ASDOH) is the primary agency responsible for overseeing public health matters, including food safety, disease control, and environmental sanitation.

The American Samoa Occupational Safety and Health Division enforces workplace safety and health standards.

The American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency implements environmental protection laws and regulations to protect both the environment and public health.

Important Considerations

Businesses and organizations operating in American Samoa must be familiar with the relevant health and safety laws and ensure compliance to safeguard public health and avoid penalties. Health and safety laws in American Samoa can be revised or updated. Staying aware of any changes is essential. Employers bear significant responsibility to maintain a safe work environment. This includes providing training, personal protective equipment, hazard identification, and incident response procedures.

Occupational health and safety

In American Samoa, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the main regulatory body that enforces occupational health and safety. The region has adopted OSHA standards, which provide a comprehensive framework for protecting workers.

Key Areas Covered by OHS Regulations

  • General Safety and Health Provisions: These cover crucial aspects such as hazard communication, first aid, personal protective equipment (PPE), workplace sanitation, and fire protection.
  • Hazard Communication: Employers are required to have a written Hazard Communication program and ensure employees understand chemical hazards through labeling, safety data sheets (SDS), and training.
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Employers are required to assess workplace hazards, provide appropriate PPE for eyes, face, head, hands, and body protection, and train employees on its proper use.
  • Recordkeeping and Reporting: Employers are required to maintain records of work-related injuries and illnesses using OSHA Forms 300, 300A, and 301. Severe injuries must be reported to OSHA within 8 hours.
  • Specific Industry Standards: OSHA has detailed standards for industries like construction, maritime, and general industry, addressing specific hazards commonly found in those sectors.

Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHD)

The Occupational Safety and Health Division (OSHD) is part of the American Samoa Department of Human Resources and is responsible for administering and enforcing OHS regulations.

Employer and Employee Responsibilities


  • Provide a safe and healthy workplace that complies with OSH standards.
  • Train employees on workplace hazards and safe work practices.
  • Provide and maintain necessary personal protective equipment (PPE).
  • Keep accurate records of work-related injuries and illnesses.
  • Report severe injuries or fatalities to OSHA promptly.


  • Follow safe work practices and use required PPE.
  • Report unsafe conditions or hazards to their supervisor.
  • Participate in safety and health training provided by the employer.
  • Exercise their right to a safe and healthy workplace.

Workplace inspection

Workplace inspections in American Samoa are a crucial aspect of maintaining the health, safety, and well-being of employees across various industries. This process involves several key elements.

Key Agencies and Regulations

Workplace inspections in American Samoa are governed by several agencies and regulations:

  • Department of Public Works (DPW) – Building Branch Division: This agency is responsible for structural, electrical, mechanical, and emergency inspections of buildings and construction sites. It enforces compliance with the Uniform Building Code (UBC) and other local and federal construction regulations.
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA): Although American Samoa is exempt from federal OSHA regulations, OSHA standards may be used as guidelines to ensure workplace safety.
  • American Samoa Environmental Protection Agency (AS-EPA): This agency conducts inspections for environmental compliance, including air quality, water quality, and hazardous waste management, among others.
  • American Samoa Government (ASG) – Department of Commerce (DOC): This department oversees labor standards and wage and hour laws.

Inspection Criteria

Workplace inspections in American Samoa generally focus on the following areas:

  • Structural Integrity: Inspection of buildings to ensure they meet building code requirements and are structurally sound.
  • Fire Safety and Emergency Preparedness: Verification of fire alarms, extinguishers, evacuation plans, and overall preparedness for emergencies.
  • Electrical Safety: Checks of electrical wiring, outlets, and equipment to prevent electrical hazards.
  • Mechanical Safety: Inspection of machinery, equipment, and tools for proper guarding, operation, and maintenance.
  • Hazardous Materials: Identification of hazardous substances, assessment of employee exposure, and adherence to safety procedures.
  • Sanitation and Hygiene: Evaluation of restroom facilities, cleanliness, and practices to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Recordkeeping: Documentation of workplace injuries, illnesses, safety training, and hazard assessments.

Inspection Frequency

The frequency of workplace inspections varies depending on factors like:

  • Type of Workplace: High-risk industries with construction sites, factories, or hazardous materials handling may require more frequent inspections.
  • Complaint-Based Inspections: Regulatory agencies may initiate inspections based on employee complaints or reports of health and safety hazards.
  • Routine Inspections: Some agencies schedule routine inspections of workplaces on a regular basis to ensure ongoing compliance.

Follow-up Actions

After an inspection, the following actions are typical:

  • Inspection Report: Inspectors issue a detailed report outlining observed hazards, non-compliant conditions, and recommended corrective actions.
  • Deadlines for Corrections: Employers are given a reasonable time frame to address violations.
  • Re-Inspection: In some cases, a follow-up inspection may be necessary to verify that violations have been appropriately corrected.
  • Fines and Penalties: Failure to comply with regulations may lead to citations and significant fines. In severe cases, businesses may face closure orders.

Workplace accidents

Workplace accidents are a serious matter and require immediate attention. Employers in American Samoa are legally obligated to report any serious accidents or fatalities that result in one or more employees receiving in-patient hospitalization. This report must be made orally to the nearest US Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) office within 8 hours of the event. In addition, within 24 hours, the employer must report all workplace fatalities to OSHA.

Reporting Workplace Accidents

Reports should be made by phone to the OSHA Area Office in Honolulu, Hawaii.

Investigation Processes

After a workplace accident that requires reporting, OSHA may initiate an investigation to determine the cause of the incident and whether there were any safety violations. This process helps in potentially preventing future accidents. An OSHA investigation typically involves interviews with the employer, employees, and any witnesses, review of employee training records, safety procedures, and maintenance history, inspection of the accident site, and examination of relevant equipment.

Compensation Claims

American Samoa has a Workers' Compensation Act which provides benefits to employees who experience work-related injuries or illnesses. This is a no-fault system, so even if the accident was partly the employee's fault, they could be eligible for compensation. Covered benefits include medical expenses related to the work injury or illness, wage replacement during disability, vocational rehabilitation if needed, and death benefits to survivors in case of fatal work accidents.

Filing a Claim

You can find forms and instructions on filing a claim on the American Samoa Bar Association website under the Worker's Compensation section.

The legal framework for the Workers' Compensation system in American Samoa is provided by the American Samoa Code Annotated (ASCA), Title 32 - Labor, Chapter 06 - Workmen's Compensation. Standards for workplace safety can be found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), specifically in Title 29 covering Labor. OSHA standards and requirements apply to employers in American Samoa.

Rivermate | A 3d rendering of earth

Hire your employees globally with confidence

We're here to help you on your global hiring journey.