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.

December 11, 1979

Mr. Lee Dale
Dawson, Nagel, Sherman & Howard
2900 First of Denver Plaza
633 Seventeenth Street
Denver, Colorado 80202

Dear Mr. Dale:

This is in response to your request for an interpretation of the phrase "equivalent entity" with reference to our standards regarding chains and slings.

An "equivalent entity" is defined by the general industry standard 29 CFR 1910.184(b), which states: A person or organization (including an employer) which, by possession of equipment, technical knowledge and skills, can perform with equal competence the same repairs and tests as the person or organization with which it is equated.

In general, manufacturers of chains and their designated service representatives are considered to be "equivalent entities" with regard to making repairs of alloy steel chains. Manufacturers of alloy steel chains often designate "equivalent entities" under a licensing arrangement between the parties. The various methods by which alloy steel chains are repaired and/or refurbished are very complex and require extensive equipment as well as highly skilled personnel. Any company may approach the manufacturer to establish an agreement, and where such an agreement is in force and the work accomplished in accord with the manufacturer's instructions, OSHA would consider this to be in compliance with the standard.

Slings made with chains are required to be in compliance with the manufacturer's specifications, the standards, or may be specifically constructed to specifications prepared by a licensed professional engineer familiar with the technology and authorized to develop such specifications.

If we may be of further assistance, please feel free to call or write.


Grover C. Wrenn Director,
Federal Compliance and State Programs