OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

March 20, 1975

Mr. Raymond F. Pusezan
Senior Staff Engineer
The Quaker Oats Company
Merchandise Mart Plaza
Chicago, Illinois 60654

Dear Mr. Pusezan:

Assistant Secretary John H. Stender has asked me to respond to your letter dated March 10, 1975, requesting a variance from Section 1910.27(b)(1)(ii) Fixed Ladders - Rungs and Cleats, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

Our technical staff has carefully reviewed your application. It has been determined that you are meeting the intent of the standard which is to provide a uniform clear distance of 12" equally spaced between rungs of your ladders on the described project.

You have stated that your first step will vary from 4" to 12" above the concrete slab at grade or above the lower platform landing. You have further stated, that the top of the ladder and the center line of the top rung would be at the same elevation. All other rungs on your fixed ladders will be equally spaced at 12". It would appear that you are providing uniform spacing of rungs for the user of the ladders.

The intent of this standard is to eliminate a continuing change of the uniform distance between rungs. This is not the case in your situation. Therefore, a variance is unnecessary.

No further action will be taken on your variance application.


Barry J. White
Associate Assistant Secretary for
Regional Programs