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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

November 2, 1984

Hubert L. Moore, P.E.
Post Office Box 1048
Valdosta, Georgia 31601

Dear Mr. Moore:

This is in response to your letter of October 11, 1984, concerning the strength criteria for guardrail and stairway systems. This also confirms your telephone conversation on October 18, 1984 with a member of my staff, Mr. Simms.

29 CFR 1926.500(f)(iv) requires that the anchoring of posts and framing of members for railings of all types shall be of such construction that the completed structure shall be capable of withstanding a load of at least 200 pounds applied in any direction at any point on the top rail, with a minimum of deflection.

Based on the information you provided in your letter it appears that you must use a pipe greater than 1-1/4" to comply with the above mentioned minimum design criteria.

If I may be of further assistance, please let me know.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Field Operations