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.

January 2, 1999

Mr. Dean Brotherton
2302 Waterway Blvd.
Isle of Palms, South Carolina 29451

Dear Mr. Brotherton:

This is in response to your letter dated September 9, 1998, addressed to Mr. Jim Drake in the Atlanta Regional office. Your letter has been forwarded to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Office of Health Compliance Assistance (OHCA) for a response. We apologize for the long delay.

Your question concerns the definition of "Physician or other licensed health care professional" (PLHCP) that appears in the revised Respiratory Protection standard, CFR 1910.134. You have asked if the definition implies that the physician is also a licensed heath care provider. You state that some federal hospitals have physicians not licensed in any state and they are practicing medicine.

OSHA requires that the PLHCP (the acronym includes the physician) must be legally permitted by his or her professional license to conduct the type of medical evaluation required by the respiratory standard. The scope of their practice is determined by their state license, registration, or certification. In Federal facilities, the physicians must be licensed by some state, but it is not required that they are licensed in the state they are practicing. To meet the OSHA requirement, the physician who is not licensed in any state, working in a Federal facility, could conduct the medical evaluation as long as they are working under the supervision of a licensed PLHCP. As you have pointed out, a licensed physician is required in other OSHA standards, such as OSHA's Asbestos standard, 1926.1101.

We hope this response answers your questions. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact OSHA's Office of Health Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-2190.


Richard E. Fairfax
Directorate of Compliance Programs