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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

DATE:               July 13, 1999

                    STATE DESIGNEES

                    Assistant Secretary

FROM:               R. DAVIS LAYNE
                    Deputy Assistant Secretary

SUBJECT:            Child Labor: Responding to Complaints Alleging Hazards
                    to Workers Under 18 Years of Age

In order to provide more effective protection for minor employees, who are especially vulnerable to workplace hazards, the following additional direction is given as a supplement to OSHA Instruction CPL 2.115, Complaint Policies and Procedures:

Whenever information for a complaint is received that gives OSHA reasonable grounds to believe that a serious violation of a safety or health standard or danger to employees exists, and the complainant alleges that workers under 18 years of age are exposed to such workplace hazards, a complaint investigation using telephone and telefax is normally not appropriate and an on-site complaint inspection will normally be initiated if the complaint relates to construction, manufacturing, or agriculture. (Statutory limitations placed on OSHA's activities in agriculture by appropriations act provisions will be observed.)

OSHA Instruction CPL 2.115, Complaint Policies and Procedures, will be revised to incorporate this direction.

State Plan States. OSHA believes that this policy change is an effective tool for dealing with employers who expose children to safety and health violations. We strongly encourage the States to adopt a similar policy for responding to complaints alleging dangers to young employees and to notify their Regional Administrator as to their intent.

If you have any questions, please contact Patrick Kapust or William Smith in the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850.