Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

May 15, 1996

To:       OSHA Regional Offices
         OSHA Area Offices
         State Plan Designees
         Consultation Program Designees

From:     John Miles
         Directorate of Compliance Programs

Re:       The Effect of the 1904 Rulemaking Effort of the De Minimis
         Citation Policy

The OSHA Field Inspection Reference Manual (FIRM) provides for De Minimis citations in the event that an employer is complying with a proposed standard. This policy should not be applied to the current OSHA proposal for revising the injury and illness recordkeeping system by revising 29 CFR 1904. Furthermore, written or verbal interpretations of the recordkeeping rule should stress the need for employers to continue to use the current system until a final rule to revise the system becomes effective.

Until it is replaced, the current system must be maintained to provide nationwide consistency of the records for OSHA, the BLS survey of occupational injury and illnesses, employers and workers. Allowing employers to adopt the proposed system in the interim could result in harm to the Nation's safety and health statistics, and lead to inappropriate comparisons of individual firms with national averages.