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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 1, 2000

Claudia Gnecco Florez - MD
Medical Adviser Colombia
BP Exploration Company (Colombia) Ltd.
Edificio Latinoamericana de Seguros
Carrera 9 A No. 99-02 Piso 4
A.A. 58824 - 91646
Santafe de Bogota, D.C. - Colombia
South America

Dear Dr. Gnecco Florez:

This is in response to your letter of August 11, 1998 seeking clarification on the classification of an incident which occurred on July 25, 1998 within your Project operation in Colombia. Please excuse the long delay in responding to your request. As you are aware, your operation in Colombia is outside the geographic scope for coverage under Section 4(a) of the OSH Act of 1970. However, as you are also aware, by using the same criteria worldwide, you will be able to make valid comparisons of the safety records of all your establishments. I will paraphrase the relevant part of your incident description and cite the Recordkeeping Guidelines for Occupational Injuries and Illnesses by page and Q&A number(s) whenever possible in our response. We will assume that for OSHA injury and illness recordkeeping purposes, the contract construction workers discussed in your letter are subject to your day-to-day supervision and therefore you would enter recordable injuries and illnesses of these workers onto your OSHA 200 Log if the operation were within the geographic scope of OSHA's coverage (P 24, Q&A 1 and 2).

Incident Description:

After completing their normal daily work shift, plus some overtime hours, two employees of a contracted construction company were being transported in their company jeep, driven by their company driver, from the BP onshore oil field to their own base accommodation camp. The camp, located 15 kilometers from the worksite, is their "home away from home," as the contracted workers work on a rotation shift basis (21 days on field duty/ 7 days field break) and live in another area of the country.

Question 1. Would the camp be considered "home away from home" in this case?

Answer: Yes, when employees have established a "home away from home" at an accommodation camp while on field duty, the accommodation camp would ordinarily be considered a home away from home. Thereafter, the employees' activities would be evaluated in the same manner as for nontraveling employees. If the employees were reporting each day to a fixed worksite (such as an onshore oil field), injuries sustained when traveling between the camp and the worksite would be considered off the job and not work related, the rationale being that an employee's normal commute from home to office would not be considered work related (P 36, Q&A C-19).

Question 2. Although they were returning to camp as part of the daily round trip to and from work, being at a different time, would this still be considered a "normal commute"?

Answer: Yes, normally time spent in travel from an accommodation camp to a worksite would be considered a "normal commute" and would not be considered work related (P 36, Q&A C-19). The facts that the employees worked overtime hours and that they were being transported in their company jeep by their company driver would not affect their "normal commute." Please note that the normal commute under the OSHA recordkeeping system consists of only one round trip per day.

Question 3. Could this case be interpreted as "a condition of the employment," since the presence of the employees in this area and reason for this journey is related to their work?

Answer: No. As discussed above, an accommodation camp would be considered a "home away from home" and travel to and from the worksite would be considered a non-work related commute.

Question 4. Is this incident classified as "work related" under the OSHA classification?


Answer: No, the incident is not work related as the workers were not traveling on company business or engaged in travel in the interest of the company-they were commuting to and from work (P 36, Q&A C-19).

We reemphasize that OSHA does not cover your operation in Colombia, South America and we have provided answers to these questions because of your expressed interest in conforming your company's domestic and overseas safety and health recordkeeping practices.

I hope you find this information useful. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact the Division of Recordkeeping Requirements, at Area Code: (202) 693-1702.


Cheryle A. Greenaugh
Director, Directorate of Information Technology