Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
|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.|
Nothing in this Act shall be construed to supersede or in any manner affect any workmen's compensation law or to enlarge or diminish or affect in any other manner the common law or statutory rights, duties, or liabilities of employers and employees under any law with respect to injuries, diseases, or death of employees arising out of, or in the course of, employment. (Emphasis added). 29 U.S.C. section 4(b)(4)As a matter of federal law, therefore, nothing in health or safety standards issued by OSHA under Section 6 of the Act, and certainly no informal guidelines of the kind involved here, determines the tort remedies available to injured workers. That matter is determined by the laws of the individual states. It is not our role at OSHA either to foster or to foil the efforts of plaintiffs' lawyers in state court proceedings. It is our responsibility, however, to undertake reasonable efforts "... to assure so far as possible every working man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions," and the issuance of informal, non-mandatory guidelines on recognized, but presently unregulated hazards, is undeniably within this statutory mandate.
|Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
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