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.

September 1, 1983

Mr. David H. Swisher
Texas Operations Safety Director
Dow Chemical U.S.A.
Freeport, Texas 77541

Dear Mr. Swisher:

This is in response to your letter of August 3, 1983, to Mr. Gilbert J. Saulter, requesting OSHA's position of fall restraint systems for employees building scaffolds in a location where the scaffold that is being built provides the only tie-off point.

It is not the intent of the construction scaffold standards to specifically require carpenters who erect or dismantle scaffolds to use a safety belt and lanyard at all times. However, carpenters erecting or dismantling scaffolds must wear safety belts and lanyards in performing any work, such as raising and lowering components, which allows the safe use of such fall protection equipment. We concur that a standard requiring the constant wearing of belts and lanyards while building or dismantling scaffolds could be hazardous to employees.

OSHA's Directorate of Safety Standards Programs anticipates publishing a new proposal for Subpart L - Ladders and Scaffolding later this year. The fall protection required for employees erecting/dismantling scaffolds will be specifically included in that proposal. Your comments at that time would be appreciated. If I may be of further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Bruce Hillenbrand
Director, Federal Compliance
and State Programs