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.
October 23, 1978
|MEMORANDUM FOR:||REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS AND AREA DIRECTORS
|THROUGH:||DONALD E. MACKENZIE
|FROM:||BRUCE HILLENBRAND Acting Director
[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]
|SUBJECT:||Defective Doors on Railroad Boxcars Hazard Alert|
The central purpose of this "Defective Doors on Railroad Boxcars Hazard Alert" is to provide for equitable nationwide inspection programming adjustments regarding disclosure of unusually grave violations of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. It will also provide employers, employees, and public officials with available information concerning a recognized hazard that has caused and is likely to cause death or serious physical harm to employees exposed to defective doors on railroad boxcars. The Act requires employers to furnish each employee a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm.
It has been brought to OSHA's attention that a nationwide problem exists for employees working in and around railroad boxcars. In many instances boxcars delivered at loading and unloading docks contain defective doors which are not properly secured and can fall on or against employees while in the immediate area.
Employers engaged in businesses requiring the use of railroad boxcars for shipping or receiving materials, supplies, etc., are required by the Act to provide a place of employment free from recognized hazards likely to cause death or serious physical harm. Defective doors on railroad boxcars, that may fall on or against employees working in the immediate area, is a recognized hazard and shall be corrected immediately. Regardless of who or what caused the damage to the boxcar door, each employer is responsible for the safety and health of the employees.