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General Safety

The General Safety Law, No.174, P.L.654, provides for the safety and protects the health and morals of persons while employed by prescribing regulations and restrictions concerning places where persons are employed and the equipment, apparatus, materials, devices and machinery used therein.

The regulations promulgated under the General Safety Law cover a wide variety of employee safety issues for all places where persons are employed or permitted to work for compensation of any kind, except farms or private dwellings, including those owned or under the control of the Commonwealth and any political subdivision thereof, including school districts.

The General Safety Law and the regulations promulgated thereunder are preempted by the Federal OSHA regulations for private sector employees, and therefore, only apply to public sector employees.

Regulation Overview

The regulations promulgated under the General Safety Law require all establishments where persons work to be constructed, equipped, arranged, operated and conducted so as to provide reasonable and adequate protection for the life, limb, safety and morals of all persons employed therein.

All belts, pulleys, gears, chains, electrical equipment and other apparatus must be properly guarded to protect workers from injury. All dust, fumes, vapors and gases created by a manufacturing process which are harmful to persons employed must be removed at the point of origin or personal protective devices must be provided. All pits, quarries, trenches and excavations must be properly shored, braced or otherwise guarded to provide reasonable and adequate protection for workers. Scaffolds, ladders, window cleaning devices and safety belts must be designed, manufactured and erected for safe operation. All railroad operations not subject to the jurisdiction of the Public Utility Commission must be maintained in a manner to prevent unreasonable or unnecessary hazards to workers or the public.

The regulations promulgated under the General Safety Law are found in Title 34 of the Pennsylvania Code, Sections 6.1 through 47.398.

The General Safety Law, Act No. 174, authorizes the department to investigate all public sector workplace safety. This includes all county, municipal, and Commonwealth employees and their employer’s actions or inactions as they relate to the General Safety Law.


  1. Complaint allegations should be detailed on the department’s General Safety Law Complaint Form, LIBI 28. Please include any evidence, i.e., documents, photos, etc. that support the allegations.

    You may submit this form by email to, by fax at (717) 346-1233, or mail this form to:

    Chief, UCC Inspection Division
    Department of Labor & Industry
    651 Boas Street, Room 1624
    Harrisburg, PA 17121-0750

  2. Upon receipt, the complaint will be reviewed to determine jurisdiction and if it is within the scope of the department’s investigative authority. Complaints containing allegations determined to have merit will be assigned for investigation.

  3. The assigned investigator will contact the complainant and his/her employer to inform them of the investigative process. Furthermore, the investigator may request additional information and/or meetings.

  4. Upon completion of the investigation, a determination will be made as to whether the allegations were substantiated.

  5. Depending on the nature of the findings, the department will take one of the following actions:

    • Cite any deficiencies found during the investigation and issue an order to the employer to correct violations and achieve compliance.
    • Issue a report indicating that no deficiencies or violations were found or cited.
    • Pursue criminal prosecution.
  6. A copy of the report will be sent to the complainant.