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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 12, 2000
Mr. Daniel J. Popeo
Washington Legal Foundation
2009 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036
Dear Mr. Popeo:
Thank you for your March 29, 2000 letter. You ask that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) submit its home-based worksite policy, contained in compliance directive OSHA Instruction CPL 2-0.125, for formal notice and comment, and that OSHA exempt businesses from reporting injuries and illnesses occurring in home offices.
Let me assure you that OSHA vigorously supports telecommuting and telework, and all their derivative benefits to families and the environment. In its nearly thirty-year history, OSHA has never inspected a home office, and has absolutely no intention of doing so. With the issuance of the home- based worksite compliance directive, we feel we have fully addressed the issue. We do not believe a formal rulemaking procedure was necessary to issue this directive. Because the directive is addressed exclusively to OSHA staff and imposes no duty on any member of the public, it is not a substantive rule for which notice and comment would be required.
Employers required to keep OSHA injury and illness records should record those injuries and illnesses that occur in home-based worksites as long as they are work-related and meet the recording criteria. These injury and illness records provide important information about the work environment that is useful to employers and employees alike. This information is also critical in assessing overall patterns in occupational safety and health statistics. For example, if home-based worksites were exempted from recordkeeping requirements, it would be difficult to deter-mine if a decline in the overall number or rate of occupational injuries and illnesses is due to the trend toward working at home, or to a change in actual injury and illness experience. Accordingly, OSHA believes that it would be inappropriate to exclude home-based worksites from the Nation's occupational injury and illness statistics.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. Such guidance could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance at (202) 693-1850.
Charles N. Jeffress