Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|
| Standard Number:||1926.650(b); 1926.652; 1926.652(a); 1926.652(b); 1926.652(b)(3); 1926.652(b)(4)|
December 22, 2003
Mr. David V. Dow
Trench Safety and Supply, Inc.
3000 Ferrell Park Cove
Memphis, TN 38116
Re: Whether a sloping system used in conjunction with trench shields in an excavation that exceeds 20 feet in depth must be approved by a registered professional engineer; whether that engineer must be registered in the state where the excavation work is taking place.
Dear Mr. Dow:
This is in response to your letter dated June 16, 2003, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). You ask about the requirements in OSHA's excavation standard (29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart P). We apologize for the delay in responding.
We have paraphrased your questions as follows:
Question (1): Scenario: A combination of trench shields and sloping is used, as follows:
In this scenario, is it sufficient to slope in accordance with the manufacturer's tabulated data (which says to slope "in accordance with OSHA requirements"), or does Subpart P require that a registered professional engineer (RPE) specify and approve a specific sloping scheme for this particular project?
Title 29 CFR 1926.652(a) provides employers with the ability to choose from four options listed under §1926.652(b) in order to protect employees working in excavations. Those options not only include utilizing support systems drawn from tabulated data but using a sloping system designed by a registered professional engineer as well. Section 1926.652(b) states in part:
* * *Section 1926.650(b) defines "tabulated data" as:
Tabulated data means tables and charts approved by a registered professional engineer...It is permissible to use manufacturer's tabulated data to create a sloping system so long as the tabulated data was approved by a registered professional engineer. Part 1926 Subpart P (Excavations) §1926.652(a) states:
Protection of employees in excavations (1) Each employee in an excavation shall be protected from cave-ins by an adequate protective system designed in accordance with paragraph (b) or (c) of this section...In your scenario you state that Manufacturer's Tabulated Data (MTD) "says to slope in accordance with OSHA requirements" and that it "meets all Subpart P requirements." However, as illustrated in your schematics, your excavation (D) is greater than 20 feet deep. The sloping designs listed in the Appendices apply to excavations that are less than 20 feet. Appendix B, Table B-1 "Maximum Allowable Slopes" states in Note 3:
Sloping or benching for excavations greater than 20 feet deep shall be designed by a registered professional engineer.Since the standard does not list specific sloping criteria for an excavation with a depth greater than 20 feet, your MTD cannot meet all Subpart P requirements by simply stating that you must "slope in accordance with OSHA requirements." For an employer to use tabulated data for a sloping system for an excavation beyond the parameters listed in appendices A and B of Subpart P, a specific sloping design must be included and approved by a registered engineer.(1)
Question (2): Same Scenario as above: If I rely on a RPE to design and approve a sloping and benching system, in what state must the RPE be registered?
Section 1926.650(b) defines "registered professional engineer" as:
Registered professional engineer means a person who is registered as a professional engineer in the state where the work if to be performed. However, a professional engineer, registered in any state is deemed to be a "registered professional engineer" within the meaning of this standard when approving designs for "manufactured protective systems" or "tabulated data" to be used in interstate commerce.Under §1926.652(a) a professional engineer registered in any state who approves designs for tabulated data is considered as being "registered" within the meaning of §1926.650(b). As such, there is no requirement that a professional engineer be registered in any specific state, so long as they are approving manufacturer's tabulated data used in interstate commerce.
An employer also has the option to have its sloping system approved by a registered professional engineer under §1926.652(b)(4). If the employer chooses to reply on this option, then, under §1926.650(b), that engineer must be registered in the state where the work will be performed.
If you need additional information, please contact us by fax (202-693-1689) at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance. You can also contact us by mail at U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction
1 §1926.652(a) considers a professional engineer who approves designs for tabulated data as being "registered" within the meaning of §1926.650(b). As such, there is no requirement that the professional engineer be registered in any specific state, so long as they are approving manufacturer's tabulated data. [Back to Text]
Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents|