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.

July 14, 1983

Mr. Lawrence R. Stafford, P.E.
8 Gracemore Street
Albany, New York 12203

Dear Mr. Stafford:

This is in response to your inquiry of June 13, 1983, concerning the position of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts with regard to intermittent tie-in/stabilization systems for powered platforms used for window cleaning and light building maintenance.

The OSHA regulation pertaining to this issue is 29 CFR 1910.66. The provision of this standard specifically applicable is 29 CFR 1910.66(b)(3), "Design requirements," which provides that:

All new powered platforms for exterior building maintenance purchased and used after the effective date of these regulations shall meet all of the design, construction, installation, and maintenance requirements of Part II and III of the "American National Standard Safety Requirements for Powered Platforms for Exterior Building Maintenance ANSI A120.1-1970" and of this section....

The ANSI standard referred to contains no specific prohibition of intermittent tie-in stabilization systems.

The other provision of 29 CFR 1910.66 that bears on this issue is paragraph (e)(12), which states that:

T-rails, indented mullions, or equivalent guides located in the face of the building, if provided, shall be maintained in proper working order so that they perform the function for which they are intended....

In part to clarify when an intermittent stabilization system would comply with 29 CFR 1910.66(e)(12), Federal OSHA issued Instruction STD 1.3-3 on November 1, 1982.

While we cannot advise you with regard to the course of action that you should take with Commonwealth of Massachusetts State officials, we would like to call to your attention provisions of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (the Act) which pertain to such matters. Section 18(a) provides that nothing in the Act shall prevent any State agency from asserting jurisdiction under State law over an occupational safety and health issue with respect to which no standard is in effect under Section 6 of the Act. Section 18(b) provides that any State wishing to assume responsibility for development and enforcement of standards relating to an issue for which a Federal standard has been promulgated must do so by submitting a State plan to the Secretary of Labor. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not and is not seeking to operate and occupational safety and health plan pursuant to Section 18 of the Act.

I hope this information is helpful to you and that you can reach some accommodation with the Massachusetts officials.


Bruce Hillenbrand
Acting Director, Federal Compliance
and State Programs