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 15, 1991

Mr. Mel Klinghoffer
Chairman of the Board
Payroll Transfers, Incorporated
3710 Corporex Park Drive, Suite 300
Tampa, Florida 33619

Dear Mr. Klinghoffer:

This is response to the enclosed letter from Ms. Laura E. Green, a former employee of Payroll Transfers Inc., dated June 13. Ms. Linda Inkpen in your Customer Service Department requested that this response be directed to you.

Ms. Green requested a decision or policy statement regarding the obligations and responsibilities of the employee leasing industry with respect to compliance with the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Specifically, she asked that a clear cut determination of which joint employer is responsible for implementing Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) regulations in the workplace and if a violation were to be found, which of the employers would receive citations and proposed penalties.

Unfortunately, the contracts between employers for temporary help employees and permanent leased employees do not always define which employer is responsible for the safety and health of the employee. Whenever OSHA encounters this situation, the compliance safety and health officer evaluates the relationship between employees and employers on a case by case basis and assigns responsibility based on his findings. There are numerous factors that enter into that evaluation.

The primary determination of responsibility for occupational safety and health purposes is which employer directly supervises the employee's day-to-day work activities and thereby directs the details, means, methods, and processes by which the employee reaches the work objective. The enclosed booklet, Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Inquiries and Illness describes on page 24 types of decisions that an employer needs to make with respect to recordkeeping, when more than one employer is involved.

[This document was edited on 10/22/2004 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. Please see the revised Injury and Illness Recordkeeping Standard, 1904, and the associated OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-131 Recordkeeping Policies and Procedures Manual (RKM) on OSHA's
Recordkeeping Page.]

Other determinants are found in OSHA's Multi-employer Worksite Policy (
copy enclosed) that may affect the employer/employee relationship. The question of which employer issues the paycheck is rarely the sole factor in making the determination of which employer is responsible.

We hope this satisfactorily responds to the questions raised by your former employee. Thank you for your interest in ensuring a safe and healthful workplace for your leased employees.


Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary

[Corrected 10/22/2004]