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.

March 25, 1993

Frances Mendenhall, D.D.S.
1325 N. Saddle Creek
Omaha, Nebraska 68131

Dear Dr. Mendenhall:

This is in response to your letter of December 3, 1992, requesting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) jurisdiction over employees working in a reservation clinic. Please accept our apology for the delay in this response.

Under the Occupational Safety and Health Act, employees working on Indian reservations are entitled to the same rights and protections as other workers. In the Act, Congress made no special provisions for Indian tribes. Thus, tribes are treated like any other private sector employer; this position was supported by the U.S. Court of Appeals in Donovan v. Coeur d'Alene Tribal Farm, 751 F.2d 1113 (9th Cir. 1985). [See OSHA Regulation 29 CFR 1975.4(b)(3)].

In summary, OSHA has jurisdictional authority for inspection of the work site and OSHA standards are required to be followed by the employer.

If you have further questions on jurisdiction, please contact Mr. Donald Kallstrom in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance (GICA) at (202) 219-8031.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs