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 12, 1991

Mr. S. G. Stuckey
Health Physicist
State of Illinois
Department of Nuclear Safety
1035 Outer Park Drive
Springfield, IL 62704

Dear Mr. Stuckey,

Please accept my apology for the delay in updating our response to your letter concerning the application of the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (29 CFR 1910.120) to radioactive wastes.

As stated in your letter, the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) has jurisdiction "inside the fence" at NRC licensed nuclear facilities for therisks involved with licensed radioactive materials, including emergency response procedures. OSHA also has jurisdiction "inside the fence" for non-licensed radioactive materials and non-radioactive safety and health hazards. This jurisdiction includes coverage under 29 CFR 1910.120. There may be both NRC and OSHA jurisdiction when there is an emergency involving mixed wastes (licensed radioactive materials and other hazardous substances) "inside the fence." On the other hand, 29 CFR 1910.120 may be applicable "outside the fence" to emergency response and cleanup activities involving hazardous substances including licensed radioactive wastes. Thus, considering the information you have provided, it appears that 29 CFR 1910.120 (q) would be applicable for your emergency response activities.

As you may know, the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 gives no coverage for State employees and public sector workers. OSHA's jurisdiction includes the private sector and federal workers. However, the State of Illinois has adopted the OSHA Act and in Illinois there is an agency which does enforce OSHA regulations for public employees:

[Illinois Department of Labor
Health and Education Division
310 S. Michigan, 10th Floor
Chicago, Illinois 60606
(217) 782-9386]

A copy of your letter and this response has been given to the OSHA Regional Office in Chicago. Should you have further questions, you may address them to:

[Michael G. Connors, Regional Administrator
230 S. Dearborn Street, Room 3244
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 353-2220]

We hope this information is helpful.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs

[Corrected 1/6/03]