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.

October 30, 1992


                   WAGE and HOUR DIVISION


SUBJECT: Opinion on the Enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.142, Temporary Labor Camp Standards, at Temporary Camp Sites

This is in response to your memorandum of August 4, to Patricia K. Clark, former Director of the Directorate of Compliance Programs. You requested a written opinion with respect to what extent OSHA compliance officers may use discretion in enforcing those portions of 29 CFR 1910.142 that are reasonable where workers are housed in tents and trailers in connection with their employment for a brief period at temporary labor camp sites. Similarly, you sought a written opinion on the extent to which Wage & Hour (W&H) compliance officers may also use such discretion in their enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.142. We apologize for the delay in responding.

OSHA's policy with respect to the enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.142, as set forth in the Field Operations Manual (OSHA Instruction CPL 2.45B, copy attached) has been to permit little deviation from the terms of site-related requirements--e.g. those facilities or conditions which most directly relate to safety and health of employees, such as site drainage, shelter, water supply, toilet, laundry, handwashing, bathing and first aid facilities, and refuse disposal. These requirements generally should be addressed regardless of the length of stay of the occupants. W&H may wish to use the enclosed Instruction as guidance for its enforcement personnel in determining employer compliance with 29 CFR 500.130 through .135 of the Employment Standards Administration's housing standards.

With respect to housing, we believe the standard is enforceable regardless of who provides the housing, so long as the housing is clearly employment-related. When making a decision on possible violations of the housing standards, consideration should be given to such factors as the nature of any hazard created by deviation from the standard, the extent of any deviation from the standard, how readily apparent the deviation, and the length of time the housing will be occupied. The above considerations are especially relevant to employee-provided housing.

Working conditions generally are evaluated by OSHA on a case-by-case basis relative to the employee's exposure in his or her working environment. The compliance officer's discretion in proposing violations of provisions of the standard is acceptable so long as the terms of site-related requirements, as listed above, are addressed. It may also be appropriate to evaluate other provisions of the standard.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact James C. Dillard, of my staff, at 219-8031.