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.

June 21, 1979

Mr. Walter J. Janka
Safety Administrator
General Contractors
Association of Hawaii
1065 Ahua Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96819

Dear Mr. Janka:

This is in response to your recent inquiry concerning the requirements for manila rope for safety lines.

29 CFR 1926.104(c) requires that a minimum of 3/4 inch manila or equivalent, with a minimum breaking strength of 5,400 pounds, shall be used for lifelines. The safety belt lanyard is also required to have a nominal breaking strength of 5,400 pounds. The manila lifeline with a breaking strength of 4,860 pounds doesn't comply with the standard; however, other types (nylon, polypropylene, etc.) of rope are available that comply with the 5,400 pound strength requirement.

The 5,400 pound strength was a rope industry standard when the OSHA standards were promulgated. We are aware of the change in the rope industry standard and will give it due consideration in the future development of standards.

I hope this information will be helpful to you. If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Grover C. Wrenn Director,
Federal Compliance
and State Programs