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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

May 20, 1976

Mr. Donald P. Johnson
Operations Manager
Alling and Cory
Post Office Box 60
Utica, New York 13503

Dear Mr. Johnson:

This is in response to your letter requesting clarification on the use of hard hats in a warehouse operation.

The OSHA Standard 1910.132 requires that where because of the hazards evident it is necessary to provide and use protective equipment, it shall be provided and used.

In considering the use of hard hats in a warehouse, it is recommended that the employees be provided with such head protection. Those employees engaged in driving fork lift trucks are reasonably protected from large bundles falling down from overhead by the rack of a fork lift truck, but they do not have any protection against small heavy objects which might fall. Also, any employee walking down the aisles, or the truck operator having stepped off his vehicle will provide an opportunity for falling objects to strike the employees. Therefore, in these instances, as in all cases where a hazard might exist, it is advisable to provide and to enforce the use of head protective devices. Head protective devices need not be worn where the employees are not exposed to overhead hazards, such as when they go to the office or to other areas where there is no opportunity to be struck by falling objects.

We have mailed under separate cover several OSHA brochures for your ready reference.


Alfred Barden
Regional Administrator
Occupational Safety and Health