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 https://www.osha.gov.

June 23, 1978

David and Carolyn Hancock
2090 NW Hawthorne Avenue
Grants Pass, Oregon 97526

Dear Mr. and Ms. Hancock:

This is in response to your letter concerning the investigation of worker job safety complaints performed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration at the Olinkraft Company in Louisiana. Please accept our apology for the delay in response.

As you know, OSHA's safety and health standards cover a variety of workplace conditions. The agency has no standards, however, that specifically address recreational activity in areas of work, nor will OSHA promulgate such rules. OSHA does not have a particular enforcement policy regarding hunting on Federal or privately owned lands, and the agency is not contemplating the development of such a policy.

A number of questions have arisen regarding the agency's actions in this area as the result of an inspection of the Olinkraft Company by OSHA's Baton Rough, Louisiana Area Office. The inspection resulted from a December 6, 1977, employee complaint expressing the concern of five Olinkraft employees that their lives were jeopardized while working in unposted areas of the company's forest during hunting season. These workers reported that they had been shot at on several occasions and that rifle and shotgun fire had narrowly missed them as they carried out survey tasks for the company. Section 8(f)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 provides that any employees or representatives of employees who believe that a violation of a safety or health standard exists that threatens physical harm, or that an imminent danger exists, may request an inspection by notifying OSHA. If the agency determines that there are reasonable grounds to believe such violation or danger exists, an inspection of the workplace is made as soon as practicable.

The Olinkraft facility was inspected and a citation issued to the company on January 13, 1978, for an alleged violation of section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act. This section requires each employer to furnish a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees. OSHA field personnel had determined that the specific circumstances investigated did expose employees to serious measures. The agency will approve a number of steps to protect the company's employees. The citation has no broader policy implications; the citation was issued in response to a specific complaint and specific workplace conditions. OSHA's policy is to investigate all valid employee complaints of hazardous working conditions. As I have noted, the agency has no specific policy directed to enforcement in areas of recreational activity contiguous to employment areas.

Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this matter. If you need further information, please advise me.


Bruce Hillenbrand, Acting Director,
[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]

[Corrected 10/22/2004]