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.

September 17, 1992

Mr. L.G. Zaitz
AGL Corporation
P.O. Box 139
Jacksonville, Arizona 72076

Dear Mr. Zaitz:

Your July 9 letter to Mr. John Martonik, Deputy Director of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Health Standards Programs, has been forwarded to this office for response. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry about OSHA's policy regarding Class I lasers.

Although the degree of hazard associated with low power lasers used in the construction industry is relatively low and Class I lasers are typically not hazardous, the OSHA construction industry standard for lasers at 29 CFR 1926.54 does not differentiate with respect to class of lasers and, thus, all lasers are covered by the standard. However, except for violations based on 1926.54(j), violations of 1926.54, in the case of the Class I lasers, are regarded by OSHA as "de minimis" which means there will be no citations, no penalty, and no abatement date issued for these violations found during an inspection. However, the specific exposure limits of paragraph (j) of the OSHA standard do not depend on the laser's class and will continue to have full effect. Consequently, if a violation of paragraph (j) is found, then the de minimis policy no longer applies and all other provisions of 1926.54 may be cited and penalties and abatement dates may be issued.

If you have any further questions, contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale R. Cavanaugh in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8136.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs