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 http://www.osha.gov.

July 10, 2014

Chip Darius, OHST, CET, CSHO
President
Safety Priority
110 Court Street
Suite 1
Cromwell, CT 06416-1273

Dear Mr. Darius:

Thank you for your letter dated January 22, 2014, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for a clarification of OSHA’s definition of permanent place of employment. This constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence.

Your question is paraphrased and our response follows.

Question: 29 CFR 1910.22, states in part: "This section applies to all permanent places of employment, except where domestic, mining, or agricultural work is performed..." What is the definition of "permanent place of employment?"

Response: A permanent place of employment is a fixed place of employment. Those whose principal activity involves going to other sites to perform services, such as plumbers, computer repair workers, and cable installers, are considered to have a permanent place of employment at the location where they meet with managers, gather supplies, or return the company vehicles.

In the telephone conversation you had with this office regarding your letter, you listed multiple hypothetical worksites and inquired which ones would be considered permanent. We cannot provide an answer to your hypotheticals as, generally, determinations of what is a permanent place of employment are made on a case- by- case basis and are specific to the facts constituting the given situation.

You should be aware that OSHA proposed changes to Subpart D of 29 CFR 1910, its standards on working-walking surfaces, including the current 1910.22. 75 FR 28862 (May 24, 2010). Hearings were held and comments have been received and reviewed. The comment period has concluded. On page 29131, the proposed scope section for Subpart D, 1910.21(a), does not use the word "permanent." It states: "Scope and application. This subpart applies to all general industry workplaces. It covers all walking-working surfaces unless specifically excluded by individual sections of this subpart." You can find this proposed rule by visiting www.regulations.gov, entering 75 FR 28862 in the search box, clicking on the third entry on walking-working surfaces, clicking on “Open Docket Folder” at the top, and clicking on the second primary document at the bottom of the page.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health.  We hope you find this information helpful.  OSHA’s requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations.  Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances.  This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed.  From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.  If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry and Agricultural Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs