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2. BACKGROUND

As far as I can tell, this whole issue began with a Washington Post article on January 4. This article triggered a series of other articles and radio/TV/online coverage as well.

In my opinion, it is essential that you look at the full text of the OSHA advisory letter on which the POST article was based. However, as of late afternoon on January 5, the Department of Labor removed the text of this letter from the OSHA Web site.

I have no idea why the POST chose to do an article about this letter - which was posted on the OSHA site on November 15, 1999. My admittedly cynical suggestion is that it was a slow news day and we got past the Y2K chaos intact. The POST ran a follow-up article on January 5 titled "Home Offices Get Hard Look."

You can also take a look at the initial reaction from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and at a follow-up news release from the Chamber after the letter was withdrawn.

Here are additional news items for your review; my thanks to John Edwards, David Fleming and Bob Fortier for passing some of them along:

  • WASHINGTON POST January 6 follow-up article titled "Labor Chief Retreats on Home Offices"
  • WASHINGTON POST January 6 editorial titled "OSHA'S Tele-Furor"
  • CHICAGO TRIBUNE January 5 and 6 articles and commentary (Go to the newspaper's site and search on the term OSHA to find the articles.)
  • National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" show on January 6 featured the topic "Workplace Safety for Home Workers." You can listen to the show with RealAudio.
  • PBS television show "Washington Week in Review" on January 7 included a segment on the OSHA debate; you have to scroll down most of the way through the transcript to find this segment.
  • LOS ANGELES TIMES Op-Ed article on January 7 titled "Isn't OSHA About Worker Safety?" written by Lynn Scarlett of The Reason Public Policy Institute.
  • SAN FRANCISCO EXAMINER January 23 editorial by Reynolds Holding titled "OSHA's New Rules Hit Home for Employees"
  • ASSOCIATED PRESS January 27 story titled "OSHA won't hold companies responsible for safety of at-home workers"
  • WASHINGTON POST January 27 article titled "OSHA Exempts Home Offices.
    NOTE: Please see my comments on these recent developments on the "My Interpretation" page.
  • REASON magazine's April 2000 issue article titled "Office Managers."

1. SUMMARY
2. BACKGROUND
3. MY INTERPRETATION
4. SUGGESTIONS FOR EMPLOYERS
5. TRAINING TIPS

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