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.

December 16, 1992

Mr. Deleon James Mintz, Jr.
Reg. #63885
Delta Correctional Center
1140 G. 1025 Lane
Delta, Colorado 81416

Dear Mr. Mintz:

Thank you for your letter of October 17, concerning inmate exposure to oven cleaning chemicals without the benefit of training on the use of hazardous chemicals.

The definition of an "employer" under Section 3(5) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act specifically excludes a State or any political subdivision of a State from coverage under the OSHA Act. Therefore, OSHA does not have jurisdiction over the State of Colorado or its employees, including inmates in correctional institutions, either paid or nonpaid.

Since this situation is not covered by OSHA, we are sending your letter to the State of Colorado, for appropriate action. The address is:

Colorado Department of Health
Consumer Protection Division
Corrections and Institutions
4300 Cherry Creek South
Denver, Colorado 80222-1530

The telephone number for this division is (303) 692-3628.

If you have further questions regarding OSHA's jurisdiction, please contact us.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs