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OSHA Housing Safety and Health Checklist

This Housing Safety and Health Checklist may be used as an aid by agricultural employers, farm labor contractors, and others providing housing subject to requirements under the Migrant and Seasonal Agricultural Worker Protection Act (MSPA) or the H-2A visa program. The standards below are applicable to housing for which construction started on or after April 3, 1980. For housing constructed prior to this date, please see the Housing Safety and Health Checklist for the ETA Standards.

Site – 29 CFR 1910.142(a)

  • Adequate drainage that does not endanger domestic or public water supply
  • Located at least 200 ft. away from swamps, pools, sink holes or other surface collection of water unless treated for mosquito control
  • Graded, ditched, and/or rendered free from depressions in which water may become a nuisance
  • Not subject to periodic flooding
  • Not overcrowded
  • At least 500 ft. from livestock
  • Free of rubbish, debris, waste-paper, garbage, and other refuse

Shelter – 29 CFR 1910.142(b)

  • Protection from the elements
  • Sleeping room contains at least 50 sq. ft. of floor space per occupant
  • Sleeping room has at least a 7 ft. ceiling
  • Sleeping room contains a bed, cot, or bunk for each occupant
  • Sleeping room contains suitable storage facilities for clothing and personal articles
  • Beds are at least 3 ft. apart and are elevated at least 1 ft. above the floor
  • Double bunk beds at least 4 ft. apart
  • Greater than 27 in. between upper and lower bunks
  • Triple bunk beds are not used
  • Floors are made of wood, asphalt, or concrete and in good repair
  • Wooden floors are smooth and tight construction
  • Wooden floors are elevated at least 1 ft. above the ground level at all points
  • Total space of windows in living quarters is 10% or more of the floor area
  • Windows can be opened at least half-way for ventilation purposes
  • Exterior openings screened with 16-mesh material
  • Screen doors equipped with self-closing devices
  • 100 sq. ft. or more per person in a room where workers cook, live, and sleep
  • Sanitary facilities provided for storing and preparing food

In camps where cooking facilities are used in common:

  • Stoves provided in a ratio of at least one for every ten people or at least one for every two families
  • Stoves provided in an enclosed and screened shelter
  • Sanitary facilities provided for storing and preparing food
  • Heating, cooking, and water heating equipment installed in accordance with State and local ordinances, codes, and regulations
  • If used during cold weather, heating equipment for the camp is adequate

Water Supply – 29 CFR 1910.142(c)

  • An adequate and convenient water supply, approved by the appropriate health authority, is provided in each camp for drinking, cooking, bathing, and laundry purposes
  • Water supply is capable of providing at least 35 gallons of water to each person each day at a rate of 2 ½ times the average hourly demand
  • Distribution lines supply water at normal operating pressures to all fixtures for simultaneous operation
  • Where there are no indoor water facilities provided, the shelters are no more than 100 ft. away from a yard hydrant
  • Where water under pressure is available, drinking fountains are provided in the ratio of 1 for each 100 workers, or fraction thereof
  • Common drinking cups are prohibited.

Toilet Facilities – 29 CFR 1910.142(d)

  • An adequate number of toilet facilities shall be provided.
  • Each toilet room is accessible without passing through a sleeping room
  • Each toilet room has at least a 6 sq. ft. window opening directly to the outside or is otherwise adequately ventilated
  • Each outside opening in a toilet room is screened with 16-mesh material
  • A fixture, water closet, chemical toilet, or urinal is not located in a room used for other than toilet purposes
  • There is a toilet room within 200 ft. of the door of each sleeping room
  • Where privies or outhouses are used, they are located no closer than 100 ft. to a sleeping room, dining room, lunch area, or kitchen
  • Where there are shared toilet facilities, separate toilet rooms are provided for each sex and these rooms are distinctly marked with easily understood pictures, symbols, or words in English and the language of the camp occupants
  • Where there are shared toilet facilities in the same building, the separate toilet rooms for each sex are separated by solid walls or partitions extending from the floor to the roof/ceiling
  • Where there are shared toilet facilities, the number of water closets or privy or outhouse seats is provided in the ratio of at least 1 to each 15 occupants (based on the maximum occupancy of persons of that sex for which the camp is designed), with a minimum of 2 units
  • Urinals are provided in the ratio one unit or 2 linear ft. of trough for each 25 men
  • 15 in. surrounding the urinal (wall and floor) is constructed of nonabsorbent materials
  • Where water pressure is available, urinal flushes adequately
  • Where privies or outhouses are used, urinal troughs drain freely into the pit/vault and the construction of this drain shall be such as to keep out flies and rodents
  • Each water closet installed on or after August 31, 1971 is located in a toilet room
  • Each toilet room is lighted naturally or artificially by a safe type of lighting at all hours of the day and night
  • An adequate supply of toilet paper is provided in each privy, outhouse, water closet, or chemical toilet compartment
  • Each privy, outhouse, and toilet room is kept in a sanitary condition
  • Each privy, outhouse, and toilet room is cleaned at least daily

Sewage Disposal Facilities – 29 CFR 1910.142(e)

  • All camp sewer lines and floors drains are connected to the public sewer, when available

Laundry, Handwashing, and Bathing Facilities – 29 CFR 1910.142(f)

  • Handwashing facilities are provided in the ratio of 1 wash basin per family shelter or 1 wash basin for every 6 persons in shared facilities
  • Bathing facilities are provided in the ratio of 1 shower head for every 10 persons.
  • Laundry facilities are provided in the ratio of 1 tray/tub for every 30 persons.
  • Each building used for laundry, hand washing, or bathing contains a slop sink.
  • Floors in laundry, hand washing, and/or bathing facilities are waterproof, smooth, and non-slip
  • Floor drains are provided in all shower baths, shower rooms, and laundry rooms
  • All junctions of the curbing and the floor are coved
  • The walls and partitions in shower rooms are smooth and waterproof up to the splash line
  • An adequate supply of hot and cold running water is provided for bathing and laundry purposes
  • Facilities are provided for heating water
  • Every service building is provided with equipment to maintain a temperature of at least 70°F during cold weather
  • Facilities are provided for drying clothes
  • Every service building is kept clean

Lighting – 29 CFR 1910.142(g)

  • Where electricity is available, there is at least one ceiling-type light fixture and at least one separate floor or wall-`type convenience outlet
  • Laundry and toilet rooms and rooms where people congregate have at least one ceiling or wall -type fixture
  • Light levels in toilet and storage rooms are at least 20 foot-candles 30 in. from the floor
  • Other rooms (including kitchen and living quarters) have at least 30 foot-candles 20 in. from the floor

Refuse Disposal – 29 CFR 1910.142(h)

  • Fly-tight, rodent-tight, impervious, cleanable or single-service containers, approved by the appropriate health authority, are provided for the storage of garbage
  • At least 1 such garbage container is provided for each family shelter
  • Garbage container(s) are located within 100 ft. of each family shelter
  • Garbage container(s) located within 100 ft. of each family shelter are on a wooden, metal, or concrete stand
  • Garbage container(s) are kept clean
  • Garbage container(s) are emptied when full, and at least twice per week

Construction and Operation of Feeding Facilities – 29 CFR 1910.142(i)

Food handling facilities comply with the requirements of the “Food Service Sanitation Ordinance and Code” (Part V of the “Food Service Sanitation Manual,” U.S. Public Health Service Publication 934 (1965), which is incorporated by reference as specified in 29 CFR 1910.6)

  • Kitchen and dining hall areas are free from vermin, rodents, flies, etc.
  • Kitchen and dining hall areas provide a place to keep food from spoilage
  • Poisonous and/or toxic chemicals are not stored with the food and/or in the cooking or eating facility
  • The equipment and utensils in the kitchen and dining hall are kept clean
  • The kitchen and dining hall are kept clean
  • Hot and/or cold running water are provided in the kitchen and dining hall
  • Leak-proof garbage containers with tight lids are provided in the kitchen and dining hall
  • Kitchen and/dining facilities are adequate in size
  • Kitchen and dining facilities are separate from the sleeping quarters
  • There is no direct opening from the living or sleeping quarters into the kitchen or dining hall
  • No persons with any communicable disease are employed or permitted to work in the preparation, cooking, serving, or other handling of food, foodstuffs, or materials used therein, in any kitchen or dining room operated in connection with a camp or regularly used by persons living in a camp.

Insect and Rodent Control – 29 CFR 1910.142(j)

  • Effective measures are taken to prevent infestation by and/or harborage of animal or insect vectors or pests

Fires Safety and First Aid Facilities – 29 CFR 1910.142(k)

  • Adequate first aid facilities approved by a health authority are available in the labor camp for the emergency treatment of injured persons
  • First aid facilities are run by a person trained to administer first aid and are readily accessible for use at all times

Communicable Disease and Illness – 29 CFR 1910.142(l)

  • Camp superintendent reports the identity and address of anyone in the camp suspected of having a communicable disease to the local health authorities
  • Camp superintendent reports immediately an outbreak of suspected food poisoning or an unusual prevalence of any illness including prominent symptoms of fever, diarrhea, sore throat, vomiting, or jaundice to local health authorities

MSPA General Obligations – MSPA Section 203(a)

  • The person who owns or controls the housing facility complies with all applicable Federal, State, and/or local standards for such housing

H-2A General Obligations – 20 CFR 655.135(e)

  • The employer complies with all applicable Federal, State, and/or local standards for the housing facility


This publication is for general information and is not to be considered in the same light as official statements of position contained in the regulations.