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.

March 5, 1981

Lyman H. Styles, Jr., P.E.
Omni Consultants, Inc.
418 Lafayette Building
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19106

Dear Mr. Styles:

This is in response to your recent letter requesting clarification of 29 CFR 1910.27, fixed ladder requirements. Your letter addressed to Mr. James Concannon in the Office of Variance Determination was forwarded to this Office for response.

The existing 6 inch dimension from the face of the intake tower to the center line of the fixed ladder rung equipped with a ladder safety device is in technical violation of 29 CFR 1910.27(c)(4). Technical deviations which have no direct or immediate relationship to safety and health are recorded as de minimis violations. Abatement of the one inch deviation is not required and penalties are not proposed. A copy of OSHA Instruction CPL 2-11A has been enclosed for your information.

The access hatch of 2 feet by 3 feet to the fixed ladder at the intake tower is also in technical violation of 29 CFR 1910.27(c). The structural support at the hatch opening should be padded to protect employees egressing the tower, and the top 3 feet of the ladder should be painted yellow to designate caution regarding the overhead structural protuberance. If these precautions are implemented for the protection of employee using the ladder, this technical violation of 29 CFR 1910.27(d) would also be recorded as a de minimis violation.

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


John K. Barto
Chief, Division of
Occupational Safety Programming