In spite of Senate testimony from the Clinton administration that it will now not hold companies responsible for the safety of telecommuting employees’ home offices, hearings held by the Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee of the House Education and the Workplace Committee Jan. 28 found congressmen now unwilling to leave the matter in OSHA’s hands.

“We believe that the Occupational Health and Safety Act does not apply to an employee’s house or furnishings. OSHA will not hold employers liable for work activities in employee’s home offices,” Assistant Labor Secretary Charles N. Jeffress said in testimony that was planned for a Jan. 26 Senate hearing but not delivered because of a sudden snowstorm in Washington, D.C. “The bottom line is, as it has always been, that OSHA will respect the privacy of the home and expects that employers will as well,” Jeffress said.