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 13, 1999

                     STATE DESIGNEES

                     ASSISTANT SECRETARY

FROM:                R. DAVIS LAYNE

SUBJECT:             Child Labor: Guidance Criteria Considerations for
                     Handling of Cases To Be Proposed for Violation-By-

This is to advise you of a change to OSHA's guidance criteria considerations to include young workers exposed to willful safety or health violations as a condition which normally constitutes a flagrant violation of OSHA standards such that violation-by-violation (egregious) handling is appropriate. This change will be effective on the date of this memorandum. This change is being made to provide more effective protection for young workers, who are especially vulnerable to workplace hazards. Young workers in this situation are those employees who are less than 18 years old.

Please make the following pen-and-ink changes at H.2.b.of OSHA Instruction CPL 2.80: Handling of Cases To Be Proposed for Violation-By-Violation Penalties:

H.    Guidance.


  1. Criteria. In general, this instruction identifies those conditions which normally constitute a flagrant violation of the Act or OSHA standards or regulations such that violation-by-violation handling is appropriate.





    1. The criteria given in the following section shall be used by the Area Director to determine whether to recommend the use of violation-by-violation citations and penalties.
    2. Cases under consideration for such treatment must be classified as willful (category (1) below) as well as at least one of the categories given in (2) through (7) (8).

H.  2.    b.  (1)    The employer is found in violation of an OSHA requirement:


(8) The violations exposed young workers (i.e., less than 18 years old to serious safety or health hazards.

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 guidance criteria policy for violation-by-violation penalties where young workers are exposed to serious safety or health violations 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.