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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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



September 13, 1984



[Directorate of Enforcement]
ATTN: Hershel W. Bensley, Director
[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]
[Directorate of Construction]
SUBJECT: Enforcement of 29 CFR 1926.105(a) for steel erection in view of a recent Review Commission's decisions


The Commission in Adams Steel Erection (1984 OSHD 26, 976) and the L.R Willson and Sons, Inc. (1984 OSHA 26, 978) cases state that 29 CFR 1926.750(b) is specifically applicable to the hazard of falling in the steel erection industry and that 29 CFR 1926.105(a) may not be applied to require method of fall protection different from those specified in 29 CFR 1926.750(b).

This case should be appealed.

29 CFR 1926.105 is a general fall protection standard which applies to the entire construction industry unless a specific standard in another subpart requires a different or preferred method for protecting against the fall hazard in question.

29 CFR 1926.750(b) is a Temporary flooring requirement for skeleton steel construction in tiered buildings. Temporary floors provide fall protection for interior falls. 29 CFR 1926.105 provides fall protection for exterior falls.

29 CFR 192.750(b)(iii) does require a safety railing of ½-inch wire rope or equal to be installed approximately 42 inches high, around the periphery of temporary floors.

However, the safety railing does not provide any fall protection for employees erecting steel around the periphery of a building 10 feet, 15 feet or 20 feet above the temporary floor. In general, construction falling hazards of 10 through 25 feet not covered by a specific standard are governed by 1926.28(a) while those of more than 25 feet are addressed by 1926.105(a). OSHA interprets 29 CFR 1926.105(a) to mean that, when steel erection employees are exposed to falls or over 25 feet, the employer is required either to provide a safety net or to enforce the use of other safety devices listed in the standard, as appropriate, for the protection of exposed employees. This position on fall protection in construction was clarified in OSHA Instruction STD 3-3.1 dated July 18, 1983.

[This document was edited on 6/20/2005 to strike information that no longer represents OSHA policy.]


1. Set emergency temporary fall protection standards for the steel erection industry which will take effect immediately.

2. Instruct the field to cite section 5(a)(1) of the act in lieu of 29 CFR 1926.105(a), when employees engaged in steel erection are exposed to falls of over 25 feet as in the extent case situation.