WASHINGTON (AP) _ Companies will not be held responsible for the safety of Americans who do office work at home, the Labor Department has told members of Congress concerned about advice to the contrary that the Clinton administration previously gave to one business.

However, those who do more hazardous types of at-home jobs, such as manufacturing piece-work involving dangerous materials, are protected by federal worker safety laws, the agency said.

``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,'' Assistant Labor Secretary Charles N. Jeffress said in remarks prepared for congressional hearings scheduled this week.

Amid criticism from corporate America and Capitol Hill earlier this month, the Labor Department withdrew an advisory letter telling a Texas credit services firm it was legally responsible for the safety of its sales executives whether they worked at home or in the office.

Nevertheless, Republicans in the House and Senate have promised an investigation.

Jeffress has not yet given the testimony publicly because scheduled hearings in the House and Senate were postponed after the nation's captial was buried by a severe snowstorm.

However, the assistant secretary, who heads Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration, delivered the message to Republican Sen. Michael Enzi of Wyoming in a private meeting Wednesday.

Enzi, a subcommittee chairman for the Senate Health, Education and Labor Committee, had been slated to chair the first hearing of what Republicans had promised would be intense scrutiny of Clinton administration policy on telecommuting.

In a written statement, Enzi said he was ``pleased'' with the outcome of the meeting.

``OSHA has assured me and other members of the committee that it will continue its practice of not holding employers liable in home offices and not inspecting home offices is a formal policy,'' Enzi said.