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 20, 1991

Edward M. McCabe, P.E.
McCabe Engineering Corporation
5471 East Wallings Road
Brecksville, Ohio 44141

Dear Mr. McCabe:

Thank you for your letter of May 16, addressed to President George Bush, regarding safety and health protection for city government employees. The White House has asked the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to respond to your concerns.

You expressed your view that employees of city governments, as well as those in private industry, should be protected by OSHA. As you know, employees of State and local governments are specifically excluded from coverage under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), except where a State has adopted a federally-approved workplace safety and health program which includes municipal employees under Section 18 of the OSH Act. The State of Ohio has not adopted such an approved program, and municipal employees in that State are thus not covered by Federal OSHA.

OSHA does cover employees of private employers who are working under contract to a city or local government. You indicated that your firm declined to proceed with work under a contract with the city of Dover, Ohio, which you believed would expose your employees and those of the city to hazardous conditions. You further reported that the city is proceeding with the project in question under another contract. If you have reason to believe that employees of a private employer engaged in this project are being exposed to safety or health hazards, we encourage you to discuss this with our Area Office in Columbus to determine if any action by OSHA is appropriate. The address and telephone number are:

W. Art Thomas, Area Director
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
Federal Office Building, Room 620
200 N. High Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Telephone: 614-469-5582

Your letter indicates that you have communicated with that office on this subject. We have taken the liberty of forwarding a copy of this correspondence to our Regional Office in Chicago, which oversees operations in Ohio, for the information of our field staff.

If we can be of further assistance in this matter, please do not hesitate to contact my office.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs