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.

July 20, 1992

Mr. Art Hart
9503 Lavrin Court
Vienna, Virginia 22182

Dear Mr. Hart:

Thank you for your letter of June 25, addressed to Secretary of Labor Lynn Martin, requesting information on Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards covering vermin control in the workplace. Your questions and our responses follow.

Question 1:

Does OSHA have regulations on the control of vermin in the workplace? If so, please send me documentation.


A copy of OSHA's general industry standard, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart J - General Environmental Controls, which covers vermin control at permanent places of employment in 1910.141(a)(5) and at temporary labor camps in 1910.142(j) is enclosed for your information.

Question 2:

Do the requirements for workplace vermin control in the government and private sector differ?


OSHA's authority is limited generally to private sector and Federal government employment and does not extend to public employees of State and localities. By section 19(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act), Federal government agencies are responsible for establishing and maintaining an effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health program which includes standards which are consistent with Federal OSHA standards.

Section 3(5) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) excludes the employees of State and local government from coverage under Federal OSHA. The Act does, however, encourage States to assume responsibility for their own occupational safety and health programs under a plan approved by the U. S. Department of Labor. Each State plan must include comprehensive coverage of public employees of the State and its localities that is "at least as effective" as the coverage which is applicable to the private sector employees. At present, there are twenty-five (25) States and territories with plans that are approved and monitored by OSHA. Twenty-three (23) of these State plans cover both private and State and local government employment. Two (2) State plans, Connecticut and New York, are limited in scope to employees of the State and its political subdivisions; in these States OSHA retains responsibility for private sector coverage. Each of these States have established and maintain effective and comprehensive occupational safety and health programs, adopting and enforcing identical and/or alternative standards that are required to be at least as effective as Federal standards.

Questions concerning occupational safety and health coverage in the workplace under a State plan State can be directed to the individual State authority responsible for administering the State's plan. Enclosed is a chart titled States With Approved Plans, listing those names, addresses and telephone numbers.

I hope this information will be helpful to you.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs