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.

July 8, 1997

Peter G. Chaney
Mechanical Contractors
Association of America, Inc.
1385 Piccard Drive
Rockville, MD 20850-4350

Dear Mr. Chaney:

This is in further response to your letter of March 28, in which you requested information concerning any standards or interpretive documents applicable to service workers in the heating, plumbing and air-conditioning industries.

In our previous discussion, you described work activities that OSHA's general industry standards would generally cover; However, in your letter you express concern about overlap with the OSHA construction standards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have specific standards for service workers. Generally service workers in the heating, plumbing and air-conditioning industries would be covered under the general industry standards in 29 CFR Part 1910, although there may be some construction jobs that would be required to follow the construction standards in 29 CFR Part 1926. Standards in Part 1926 also apply to construction activities at non-construction sites. See §1910.12(b) and §1926.13 for definition of "construction work." Copies enclosed.

OSHA's multiemployer policy, which applies to all work sites, including construction and non-construction, may also apply in your situation. On multiemployer worksites, citations normally will be issued to employers whose employees are exposed to hazards (the exposing employer); however, the following employers may also be cited, whether or not their own employees are exposed:


The employer who actually creates the hazard (the creating employer);


The employer who is responsible, by contract or through actual practice, for safety and health conditions on the work site; i.e., the employer has the authority for ensuring that the hazardous condition is corrected (the controlling employer);


The employer who has the responsibility for actually correcting the hazard (the affecting employer).

As you may know, the States of Maryland and Virginia administer their own occupational safety and health programs under the state plan provision of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. As part of that program, the state is required to have policies, procedures and standards at "least as effective as" OSHA, although they do not have to be identical to the federal. Therefore, we recommend that you also contact the states of Maryland and Virginia for information. In the state of Maryland contact the following:

John P. O'Connor, Commissioner
Maryland Division of Labor and Industry,
Department of Labor Licensing and
1100 N. Eutaw Street, Room 613
Baltimore, Maryland 21201-2206
Telephone: (410) 767-2999

In the state of Virginia contact the following:

Theron Bell, Commissioner
Virginia Department of Labor and Industry
Powers Taylor Building
13 South 13th Street
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Telephone: (804) 786-2377

Thank you for your interest in occupational health and safety. If you have any questions, contact Natalie Grinder at (202) 219-8031, x 117.


Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
Office of Director Compliance