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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

October 3, 1985

Mr. John Rectenwald
General Electric Corporation
1100 West Avenue, Building 16464
Lynn, Massachusetts 01910

Dear Mr. Rectenwald:

Mr. Richard B. Starrak, President George McQueston Company, Inc., located in Iron Horse Park, North Billerica, Massachusetts, requested that this office write to you concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) requirements for scaffold plank.

29 CFR 1926.451(a)(10) of our Construction Industry standards requires all planking to be Scaffold Grades, or equivalent, as recognized by approved grading rules for the species of wood used. The maximum permissible spans for 2x10 inch or wider planks shall be as shown in the following table.

                     Full thickness           Nominal thickness 
                     undressed lumber         lumber(1)

Working load (p.s.f.)    25   50   75             25   50 
Permissible span (ft.)   10    8    6              8    6

(1) Nominal thickness lumber not recommended for heavy duty use.

It appears, based on a copy of a West Coast Lumber Inspection Bureau inspection certificate included with Mr. Starrak's letter to us that 2"x10" selected structural scaffold plank used in conformance with the spans allowed in Table L-3 would satisfy our planking standards.

If we can be of further assistance, please let us know.


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