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.

August 26, 1977

Mr. Jack Fees
Safety Education Director
Construction Employers' Association
220 The Chesterfield
1801 East 12th Street
Cleveland, Ohio 44114

Dear Mr. Fees:

This is in response to your letter dated August 15, 1977, concerning guardrails.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administrations, Safety and Health Regulations for Construction, specifically 1926.451(d)(10) requires guardrails to be constructed as follows:

Guardrails made of lumber, not less than 2x4 inches (or other material providing equivalent protection), and approximately 42 inches high, with a midrail of 1x6 inch lumber (or other material providing equivalent protection), and toeboards, shall be installed at all open sides and ends on all scaffolds more than 10 feet above the ground or floor.

Cross bracing or diagonal braces for securing vertical members together laterally do not provide employees the equivalent protection of a guardrail and may not be used as such at the present time.

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


John K. Barto, Chief
Division of Occupational
Safety Programming