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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

November 19, 1980

Arthur L. Schmuhl, Director
Safety and Health Services
The Associated General Contractors of America
1957 E Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20006

Dear Mr. Schmuhl:

This letter is in response to your inquiry concerning the definition of the term "hospitalization" in OSHA Instruction CPL 2.43, dated April 21, 1980. Please accept my apology for the delay in response.

The term, "hospitalization" is not defined in the OSH Act, nor is that term as used in 29 CFR 1904.8 (Reporting of Fatality or Multiple Hospitalization Accidents) defined by regulation. In the absence of statutory or regulatory definition, common words are assigned their common meaning. In response to inquiries about the meaning of that term, we did not interpret the term, we merely consulted a dictionary in wide use in the United States. OSHA Instruction CPL 2.43, dated April 21, 1980, merely incorporated the definition of the root verb, "hospitalize" as stated in Webster's New World Dictionary of the American Language, Second College Edition: Library of Congress Catalog Number 71-182408; Copyright 1972 and 1970 by World Publishing Company, New York. On page 679 of that edition, Webster's Dictionary defines the verb "hospitalize" as follows: "to send to, put in, or admit to a hospital." Under these circumstances, we do not believe that the Administrative Procedure Act requires the agency to go through rulemaking procedures.

With respect to your reference to your December 13, 1979 letter concerning 29 CFR 1926.52, our records show that your letter was answered on February 20, 1980.

If we may be of further assistance, please call or write.


Eula Bingham
Assistant Secretary
Occupational Safety and Health