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• Standard Number: 1903.2

November 12, 2004

Ms. Lissa J. Magaña
National Data Retrieval Administrator
American Labor Law Company
1212 South Fifth Avenue, Suite B
Monrovia, CA 91016-3853

Dear Ms. Magaña:

Thank you for your August 23, 2004 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had specific questions relating to 29 CFR 1903.2, Posting of notice, availability of the Act, regulations, and applicable standards. Your paraphrased questions and our responses follow:

Question 1: Is there a requirement that the OSHA poster, "It's Your Right to Know," needs to be, or should be, posted in Spanish?

Response: The above referenced standard requires employers to post a notice to be furnished by OSHA, but does not specify or require that the notice additionally be posted in a foreign language (e.g., Spanish).

The poster you reference, "It's Your Right to Know," is not the notice required to be posted under 29 CFR 1903.2 — Posting of notice. The standard requires employers to post a notice entitled, "You Have a Right to a Safe and Healthful Workplace." Enclosed, you will find English and Spanish versions of this notice.

Although the standard does not specify or require that the notice also must be posted in a foreign language (e.g., Spanish), OSHA encourages employers that have Spanish-speaking workers to post an additional notice in Spanish. OSHA makes the Spanish language poster and other OSHA information available to employers on OSHA's public website at
http://www.osha.gov under "Compliance Assistance: Hispanic Employers and Workers and Spanish-Language Compliance Assistance Resources." The poster can be downloaded in HTML format or as a PDF file. (Downloading instructions are available for the HTML version.) It can also be ordered on-line as a hard copy and delivered to the employer.

Question 2: Is there a certain ratio of foreign language employees (e.g., 5% of employees speak Spanish) that triggers the need for an OSHA notice to be posted in a foreign language?

Response: There is no requirement based on a certain ratio of employees. As mentioned previously, the standard does not specify or require that the notice also must be posted in a foreign language (e.g., Spanish). However, OSHA encourages employers that have Spanish-speaking workers to post an additional notice in Spanish. (Please see reply to Question 1.)

Question 3: Would an employer be fined if he did not have the OSHA notice also posted in Spanish if a majority of his employees were Spanish speaking?

Response: Since the standard does not specify that the poster also be available in languages other than English, an employer would not be fined if he/she did not have a notice posted in Spanish as long as the employer is in compliance with the standard requirements (e.g., having the proper notice posted in each establishment in a conspicuous place, etc.).

Question 4: Is it up to the employer to use his own judgment to determine whether or not they should post the notice in Spanish?

Response: Since the standard only specifies that the OSHA notice be posted, it is up to employers to decide whether or not they should also post the notice in a foreign language such as Spanish. OSHA encourages employers to post additional notices in their workers' native languages in situations in which workers cannot read English. (Please see reply to Question 2.)

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain the federal requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. Twenty-six States currently operate their own occupational safety and health programs under plans approved by the U.S. Department of Labor pursuant to section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The California Department of Industrial Relations operates such a plan and is responsible for the occupational safety and health of working men and women throughout California. If you would like more information about California workplace safety and health regulations, the address is as follows:
John Rea, Acting Director
California Department of Industrial Relations
455 Golden Gate Avenue - 10th Floor
San Francisco, California 94102
(415) 703-5050
FAX (415) 703-5059
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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents