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 http://www.osha.gov.

December 31, 1980

MEMORANDUM FOR:     GABRIEL GILLOTTI
                    REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

ATTN:               LAWRENCE E. GROMACHEY
                    ASSISTANT REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR

THRU:               JOHN B. MILES
                    ACTING FIELD COORDINATOR

FROM:               BRUCE HILLENBRAND
                    ACTING DIRECTOR, FEDERAL COMPLIANCE
                    AND STATE PROGRAMS

SUBJECT:            Interpretation of 1926.451(d)(7)

We have evaluated your question regarding the interpretation of 1926.451(d)(7) and have also discussed it with the Offices of Standards, State Programs and Solicitor.

We have learned that there have been no previous problems in the interpretation of this standard and the Solicitor's Office was unable to confirm losses in court due to the interpretation you have presented. They further feel that the existing standard is defensible.

The purpose of the standard is to remove a recognize hazard from the workplace. In order to place the standard in proper perspective for purposes of this clarification, the key words are "to prevent movement, the scaffold shall be secured". The intent of the standard is to keep a fixed scaffold from falling or buckling while workers are on it. The same intent is also present in other scaffold standards, for example; 29 CFR 1926.451(b)(4) and (c)(12) as well as (e)(1) for mobile scaffolding. This standard was developed because tubular welded scaffolding becomes top heavy and, therefore, unstable when higher than 26' and laterally unstable when longer than 30'.

Further, the logic of the standard is quite clear. The word "and" has the meaning of "as well as" and means that no scaffold shall be unsecured beyond 30 feet horizontally or 26 feet vertically.

Additionally, and in support of this analogy, a limited search of instructions and rules published by scaffold manufacturers disclosed that all of them required their scaffolds to be secured per the above interpretation.

The sketch included with your memorandum, while helpful in visualizing the meaning of the standard, is not, of course to be confused with the standard.

Coordination with your office indicated cases in Arizona initiated the query and copies of these cases are being forwarded to us. We have also discussed the matter with the Office of State Programs, since Arizona is a State plan State. Upon receipt of this information, we will reevaluate the issues and inform you as to further disposition.