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.

March 20, 1989

Mr. Bill Tucker
Chairman, Mine Health & Safety Committee
Local 340, District 17
The United Mine Workers of America
P.O. Box 138
Cedar Grove, West Virginia 25039

Dear Mr. Tucker:

This is in response to your letter or January 16, 1989, concerning the interpretation of 29 CFR 1903.20 and 1910.141(c)(3)(v).

Section 18(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act, Public Law 91-596, enclosed, states that "Nothing in the Act shall prevent any State agency or court from asserting jurisdiction under State law over any occupational safety or health issue with respect to which no standard is in effect under section 6." (Section 6 authorizes the promulgation of occupational safety and health standards). Section 18(b) states that "any State which, at any time, desires to assume responsibility for development and enforcement therein of occupational safety and health standards relating to any occupational safety or health issue with respect to which a Federal standard has been promulgated under section 6 shall submit a State plan for the development of such standards and their enforcement."

29 CFR 1903.20 states that Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) inspections, citations, and proposed penalties do not preempt the authority or any State to conduct inspections, to initiate enforcement proceedings, or otherwise to implement the applicable provisions State law with respect to State occupational safety and health standards when the State operates its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved by the U.S. Department of Labor. West Virginia does not operate such a plan pursuant to section 18 of the Act. Thus, Federal OSHA provides worker protection through the enforcement of occupational safety and health standards in the private sector workplaces in the State of West Virginia.

29 CFR 1910.141(c)(3)(v) requires the employer to provide individual clean towels, whenever showers are required by a particular OSHA standard.

As you may be aware, OSHA regulations, would not apply if the establishment and/or working conditions are regulated by the Mine Safety and Health Administration.

If you have any further questions, it is suggested you contact the OSHA Charleston Area Office, at the following address:

U.S Department of Labor - OSHA,
550 Egan Street, Rm. 206,
Charleston, West Virginia 25301,
Telephone (304) 347-5937.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs