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.


August 6, 2002




Deputy Assistant Secretary

Deputy Assistant Secretary
SUBJECT: Cotton Gins


Questions have been raised as to which Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards are applicable to cotton gins. Under the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) coding system, cotton ginning is under Agricultural Services and has the industry code of 0724. OSHA's long-standing position is that cotton ginning is an agricultural operation and not a general industry operation.

OSHA's agricultural standards (Title 29, Code of Federal Regulation, Part 1928) specifically cover cotton gins in §1928.57, which deals with guarding of farm field equipment, farmstead equipment, and cotton gins. OSHA's cotton dust standard at §1910.1043(a)(2) specifically excludes cotton ginning from coverage.

The only standards that OSHA can apply to agricultural operations are the agriculture standards in 29 CFR Part 1928, and the few general industry standards referenced in §1928.21, which are also applicable to agricultural operations. The following general industry standards are referenced in §1928.21:






1910.111(a) & 1910.111(b) Storage & Handling of Anhydrous Ammonia
1910.142 Temporary Labor Camps
[1910.145(d)(10)] Slow-Moving Vehicles
1910.266 Logging Operations
1910.1027 Cadmium
1910.1200 Hazard Communication
1910.1201 Retention of DOT Markings, Placards & Labels


If hazards are found at cotton ginning operations that are not covered by the above standards, consideration should be given as to the applicability of citing under OSHA's general duty clause (Sec. 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act). These may include hazards covered by general industry standards that are not referenced in §1928.21. When a general duty citation is issued, procedures in [OSHA Instruction CPL 02-00-148, Field Operations Manual (FOM)], are to be followed.

[Corrected 1/21/2009]