Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

December 1, 1976

Ms. Deborah A. Moser
Staff Safety Consultant
National Loss Control
Service Corporation
Long Grove, IL., 60049

In re: Your letter of October 7, 1976, 1926.50(c) Medical Services and First Aid

Dear Ms. Moser:

Your letter requests an interpretation of the subject standard as it pertains to the accessibility of a hospital or physician in terms of distance and travel time. As a general rule, we recommend that a person trained in first aid be available on the site whenever professional medical attention is more than eight minutes away from any point on the site. However, the conditions present on any particular job site may make this eight-minutes guide line inadequate.

If employees are working with materials that could adversely affect their respiration, or are subject to electrical shock that could cause loss of the breathing function, the eight-minutes time period is too long. Irreversible brain damage can result in four minutes due to the lack of oxygen. Accordingly, of hazards of such mature are present (except in isolated instances) and professional medical attention is not available within four minutes of the onset of the condition, then the employer should comply with the requirement for a person trained in first aid to be available at the worksite.

When the hazards on a worksite are of a less critical nature, the travel time factor becomes less critical also. But we recommend that the eight-minutes travel time be considered as the maximum.

An employer must decide what action to take to achieve compliance with the cited standard. We would add that the changing conditions on a construction site make it necessary for the employer to review his actions periodically to assure that his safety and health measures are continuing to provide the necessary protection for his employees.

Please contact us if we can be of further service.

Very truly yours,

Acting Assistant Regional Administrator
for Technical Support


cc: Barry J. White,
Regional Administrator - OSHA
Washington, D.C.