Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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



May 22, 1984



FROM: John B. Miles, JR., Director
[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]
SUBJECT: Clarification of 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(1)(iii)


The subject regulation requires that a safety railing of 1/2-inch wire rope or equal shall be installed, approximately 42 inches high, around the periphery of all temporary-planked or temporary metal-decked floors. The safety railing shall be installed as the temporary planked or temporary metal-decked floor progresses for the protection of the erection employees. While the standard does not require the protection ofthe leading edge as the deck is actually spread, if spreading of the deck stops for any significant period of time the decked portion of the floor must be protected. Employees not engaged in erection work shall be protected with a standard railing complying with 29 CFR 1926.500(d)(1). The typical use of synthetic or fiber ropes as a safety railing does not provide equal protection for the following reasons:


(1) Wire rope has greater strength for the same diameter and weight;
(2) Wire rope's strength is constant when wet or dry;
(3) Wire rope has constant length under varying weather conditions; and
(4) Wire rope has greater durability and provides more protection than synthetic or fiber ropes for welding, burning, riveting or open flame work.

[Correction 6/20/2005. See OSHA Directive CPL 02-01-034 "Inspection policy and procedures for OSHA's steel erection standards for construction" published on 3/22/2002 for the current policy on OSHA's steel erection standards (1926 Subpart R) for construction.]