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.

August 2, 1991

Mr. Phil Huddleston
Legislative Representative
United Transportation Union
Local 524
213 Sheridan Drive
Palestine, Texas 75801

Dear Mr. Huddleston:

Thank you for your letters to Mrs. Bush, Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin and former Deputy Secretary Roderick A. DeArment concerning the working environment of railroad train operating employees.

Section 4(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (OSH Act) provides that "nothing in this Act shall apply to working conditions of employees with respect to which other Federal Agencies exercise statutory authority to prescribe or enforce standards or regulations affecting occupational safety and health."

The purpose of this exemption is to avoid duplication in Federal regulation of safety and health conditions in the workplace. Once another Federal agency exercises its authority to regulate specific working conditions, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) cannot enforce regulations covering the same hazard against an employer who is regulated by the other Federal Agency.

The Federal Railway Administration (FRA) is responsible for the overall safety of railroad operation and equipment. Since the FRA has regulations regarding railroad safety, OSHA would generally be precluded from regulating the safety conditions of operating railroad equipment.

Your letter has ben forwarded to the FRA for appropriate action. The address is as follows:

Federal Railroad Administration (FRA)
RAO - 20, Room 8212A
400 7th Street, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20590

Thank you for your continued interest in occupational safety and health. If we may be of further assistance in this matter, please let us know.


Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary