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.

February 17, 1987

David R. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Senior Scientist
Anacapa Sciences, Inc.
901 Olive Street
Santa Barbara, California 93102

Dear Dr. Schwartz:

This is in response to your January 19, inquiry to Assistant Secretary John A. Pendergrass of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requesting information concerning current or pending health and safety standards for the design and implementation of visual display work-stations in the workplace. Your letter was forwarded to the OSHA [Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine] for response.

OSHA has issued no required standards or guidelines for the design of office environments or video display terminals (VDTs). Existing OSHA standards on electrical safety, radiation exposure, and noise apply to all workplaces including office environments. Enclosed please find OSHA publication 3092 "Working Safely with Video Display Terminals" [
PDF 500Kb ] that discusses applicable existing OSHA standards for office environments and ergonomics considerations for VDT use.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has conducted numerous ergonomics and health studies on computer-based work environments, especially those with VDTs. Contact NIOSH directly for results of its programs:

[National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Education and Information Division (EID)
Robert A. Taft Lab.
4676 Columbia Parkway
Cincinnati, Ohio 45226
Phone: (513) 533-8302
[NIOSH web page on Ergonomics and Musculoskeletal Disorders subsection on Computer Keyboards and Video Display Terminals]

Recommendations for optimum VDT deployment for the safety and health of VDT users are available from trade associations such as the [Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) (formerly the Computer and Business Equipment Manufacturers Association) at:

Information Technology Industry Council
1250 Eye Street NW, Suite 200
Washington, DC 20005
Phone: (202) 737-8888
Fax: (202) 638-4922]

[A]nd the American Electronics Association at [1-800-284-4232 or through their web site at http://www.aeanet.org/default.asp] as well as the individual VDT manufacturers themselves.

Please contact my office if further assistance is necessary.


Richard D. Edsell, Director
[Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine]

[Corrected 10/25/2004]