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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.1096; 1926.53

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

September 27, 1990

Mr. James W. Krueger President
American Association of Radon Scientists
and Technologists, Inc.
Post Office Box 70
Park Ridge, New Jersey 07656

Dear Mr. Krueger:

This is in response to your letter of July 24 to Mr. David M. Smith of my staff concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.1096 Ionizing radiation.

Please be advised that 29 CFR 1910.1096 applies to all workplaces except state and local governments, marine terminals, agricultural operations, construction operations and workplaces exempted from OSHA jurisdiction by section 4(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Section 4(b)(1) reads:
Nothing in this Act shall apply to working conditions of employees with respect to which other Federal agencies, and State agencies acting under section 274 of the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended (42 U.S.C. 2021), exercise statutory authority to prescribe or enforce standards or regulations affecting occupational safety or health.
OSHA Standard 29 CFR 1926.53 applies to ionizing radiation hazards in the construction industry. That standard incorporates by reference provisions that are comparable to those contained in 29 CFR 1910.1096.

You also asked several questions in your letter and in your meeting with Mr. Smith concerning the application of 29 CFR 1910.1096 to conditions in the workplace. For your information I have enclosed a copy of an
OSHA memorandum dated August 16, 1989 addressed to the OSHA Training Institute. This document provides current OSHA policy on the requirements for application of 29 CFR 1910.1096 to radon in the workplace. I trust the information contained in the memorandum is adequate.


Patricia K. Clark
Director Designate
Directorate of Compliance Programs

July 24, 1990

David M. Smith
U.S. Dept. of Labor
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Room N3457
Washington, D.C. 20210

Mr. Smith,

It was a pleasure to meet with you on Friday, July 20 to discuss CFR 29 1910.1096. I am very interested in your offices interpretation of section (c) (1) and (2) along with section (e)(4). I have included highlighted copies of these sections as well as a highlighted copy of 1910.5 (c) (2) which, I believe, indicates that the regulations listed in section 1910 pertain to "any industry." Particular questions of concern are:

1. Do the regulations detailed in section (c)(1) and (2) pertain to research laboratories, mining operations, nuclear facilities and other facilities with restricted access or is it, in accordance to section 1910.5(c)(2), applicable to "any industry"?
2. Many employers are currently hiring private environmental assessment firms to perform compliance audits to assist the employer in determining whether a safe working environment exists for their employees. In section 1910.1096(e)(4)(b) an employer is required to post a sign or signs if radon levels are in excess of 7.5 pCi/l. Does section 1910.1096(e)(4)(b) pertain to "any industry" as described in the description of 1910.5(c)(2)? If not, what industries does this section pertain to?
The Environmental Protection Agency has recommended that every home and classroom in the nation test for radon. Congress mandated that every federal office building be tested for radon. Certainly the regulations cited here should warrant employers to include radon testing of the workplace to determine worker exposure and post warnings and notices where applicable I look forward to a prompt response to my query. Please forward your response to: AARST, 6900 East Camelback Road, Suite 430, Scottsdale, Arizona 85251. Should you have any questions pertaining to this correspondence please contact me at 1(800)729-7660.


James W. Krueger

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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