OSHA Officially Rescinds Work-At-Home Directive

OSHA first said it was withdrawing an advisory letter in which it intimated to a Texas company that the company had responsibility for the safety of employees who work at home. Now, two weeks later and under pressure from Congress, OSHA's hasty retreat becomes official. It issued a formal policy directive Jan. 27 that says business is not responsible for the safety in home offices of the approximately 20 million people in the U.S. who work from home either full time or occasionally. However, Charles Jeffress, OSHA administrator, said that businesses would still be held responsible for safety problems of at-home workers when the jobs involve the use of hazardous materials or equipment or dangerous processes such as casting lead parts or building fireworks. Jeffress further assured Congress that even risky home work sites would not be inspected unless they first received a complaint about the conditions.

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