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.

May 24, 1995

Mr. David A. Kruger
Member, Technical Staff
Webb, Murray & Associates, Inc.
Fire Protection and Safety Engineering
1730 Nasa Road One, Suite 202
Houston, Texas 77058

Dear Mr. Kruger:

This is in response to your March 28 letter requesting a compliance determination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerning the use of radio-frequency-activated (RF) pagers for meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.165 Employee alarm systems. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

With regard to the use of conventional RF pagers that would alert employees via a signal such as a beep or vibratory signal and transmit via audible signal and/or by a visual text display, please be advised that there is insufficient information contained in your letter to make a complete determination of compliance with 1910.165. However, OSHA will accept the use of alternative alarm methods as long as the methods are reliable, recognized by employees, and meet the requirements of 1910.165 or the National consensus standards listed in Appendix B to Subpart L for 1910.165.

In order to determine if this alternative alarm system meets 1910.165, information concerning the following subject areas would have to be evaluated: maintenance, testing, and inspection of the alarm; capability of the alarm being perceived above ambient noise levels; alarm reliability; and employee training in alarm recognition.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Mr. Wil Epps of my staff at (202) 219-8041.


John B. Miles, Jr.
Directorate of Compliance Programs