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 28, 1992

Ms. Carole Kolstad
Federal Agency Relations
American Dental Association
1111 14th Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20005-5603

Dear Ms. Kolstad:

This is in response to your letter of August 27, requesting assistance in preparation of a compliance checklist for use by dental offices. Specifically, you requested that we review the document you have drafted and concur that "...a dental office that follows this checklist would be in substantial compliance with OSHA regulations...."

As was discussed during our August meeting, although OSHA generally does not review documents such as the checklist you have developed, we have agreed to conduct a general review of the document as you have indicated in your letter. OSHA cannot, however, endorse the document, or make any statement that in any way presumes that following the checklist would result in "...substantial compliance with OSHA regulations...." OSHA has no authority to grant such approvals, and the final determination of compliance with OSHA regulations must take into account all factors pertaining to potential hazards at a particular worksite with respect to employee safety and health. This must include an evaluation through direct observation of employee work practices and all conditions in the workplace with respect to all requirements of applicable regulations.

We are attaching our comments on the compliance checklist you have submitted to assist you in your review of the document. Our comments are limited to the material presented and may not address other applicable OSHA standards which are not included in this material. We hope that this will be helpful to you in assisting your members. Please bear in mind, however, that a checklist or any other method of informing employers of compliance requirements of OSHA standards through simplification of the regulations may imply a reduction of the requirements. It must therefore be emphasized to employers contemplating the use of checklists or other similar guides that they are not to be considered a substitute for any provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act or for any standards issued by OSHA.

We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. Thank you for your interest in employee safety and health.


Roger A. Clark
Acting Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs