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Occupational Requirements Survey

Environmental Conditions

Environmental Conditions data elements provide a systematic means to describe surroundings or settings in which the occupation is found or the job may be performed.

This document offers a general overview and basic descriptions of the Environmental Conditions that are collected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for the Occupational Requirements Survey (ORS). These definitions are intended to provide information only and are not intended to be used during the course of data collection.

Environmental conditions covered:


Extreme Cold

Exposure to non-weather related temperatures that are:

    40 degrees or colder if the exposure is 2/3 or more of the work day

    32 degrees or colder if the exposure is for less than 2/3 of the work day

Worker opening specimen freezer

Extreme Heat

Exposure to non-weather related temperatures that exceed:

    85 degrees in a humid atmosphere

    90 degrees in a dry atmosphere

Worker near fiery pitChef cooking on stove in restaurant

Fumes, Noxious Odors, Dusts, Gases

Exposure to such conditions as fumes, noxious odors, dusts, mists, gases, and/or poor ventilation that affect the respiratory system, eyes, or skin.

Worker using saw to cutWorking painting structure

Heavy Vibration

Exposure to a shaking object or surface that causes a strain on the body or extremities.

Worker using jack hammerWorker on tractor tilling land

High, Exposed Places

Exposure to possible bodily injury from falling.

Construction worker helping move large beamWorker on communications tower


Non-weather related exposure to conditions where the air contains a high amount of water or water vapor.

Worker in greenhouse examining crops

Noise Intensity Level

The noise intensity level to which the worker is exposed in the job:

    Quiet, Moderate, Loud and Very Loud

Quiet. LibraryModerate Noise. Restaurant
Very Loud Noise. Construction siteLoud Noise. Large stadium event


Job requires work outdoors. This does not include the commute to/from work.

Worker cutting bushesWorking delivering package to residence

Proximity to Moving, Mechanical Parts

Operation of or proximity to materials, mechanical parts, settings, or any moving objects (most commonly moving machinery or equipment) that could cause bodily harm.

Worker using saw to cut

Toxic, Caustic Chemicals

Exposure to possible bodily injury from toxic or caustic chemicals.

Worker spraying crops


Any non-weather related contact with water or other liquids.

Worker power washing surfaceWorker washing dishesPerson hand-washing car


Last Modified Date: July 10, 2015