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OSHA colors in gray areas of home-office liability

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Bottom line: If you let workers perform hazardous manufacturing operations in their homes, such as assembling electronic components, then your company can be held liable for federal safety and health violations at the home office. But if you employ white-collar telecommuters, your company is exempt from liability.

OSHA's clarification comes after an embarrassing about-face on a policy letter that would have required employers to fix any home-office hazard "of which they are, or should be, aware."

OSHA says it doesn't expect employers to inspect home offices. The agency also says its staff won't randomly inspect home offices.

Bonus: OSHA says the same home exemption principle will apply to its proposed ergonomics standards.

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