Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

August 12, 1975

Mr. LaVern W. Cass
Corporate Safety Director
Northern Engraving Company
Luxco Incorporated
327 North Front Street
LaCrosse, Wisconsin 54601

Dear Mr. Cass:

This is in response to your letter dated July 24, 1975, which supplied additional information relative to your request for variance from Section [1910.37(a)(3)] Means of Egress - Changes in Elevation, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

[This document was edited on 02/05/2004 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy. 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E was revised on November 7, 2002. This section is now titled "Exit Routes - Maintenance, safeguards, and operational features for exit routes.]

Your request for a variance from the means of egress guarding requirements of the above standard has been carefully evaluated by our technical staff and we have concluded that a variance is not required.

You have stated that a remote exit located in the Northwest corner of your building "B" has a 35" elevation change from plant floor to grade. This door is not used as a normal means of egress due to the presence of a railroad abutting the building. Although not required, this door could be used as an emergency exit.

The above standard requires that ["Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level."] Your installation of the special purpose pivoting fixed ladder would appear to meet the intent of this standard. Therefore, a variance is not required.

No further action will be taken on your request for a variance from Section [1910.37(a)(3)].


Barry J. White
Associate Assistant
Secretary for Regional Programs