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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

April 10, 1986

John Olivieri, President
Brama-Weber, Inc.
J.F. Sharpe Association
1015 Saw Mill River Road
Building 6B
Yonkers, New York 10710

Dear Mr. Olivieri:

This is in response to your letter of April 7, 1986, concerning your requesting a clarification of our standard railing requirements.

29 CFR 1926.500(f)(1)(vi) provides the specification criteria for a standard railing exception as follows:

(vi) Other types, sizes, and arrangements of railing construction are acceptable, provided they meet the following conditions:

(a) A smooth-surfaced top rail at a height above floor, platform, runway, or ramp level of approximately 42 inches;

(b) A strength to withstand at least the minimum requirements of 200 pounds top rail pressure with a minimum of deflection;

(c) Protection between top rail and floor, platform, runway, ramp, or stair treads, equivalent at least to that afforded by a standard intermediate rail;

(d) Eliminations of overhang of rail ends unless such overhang does not constitute a hazard.

Your proposal to install a 1/4 inch standed steel cable for the top and intermediate rails appears to meet the intent of our railing requirements. However, the wire ropes shall be secured to each support and taut at all times. In addition the maximum deflection of the top rail when a load of 200 pounds is applied in any direction at any point on the top rail shall not exceed 3 inches in one direction.

The vertical barrier (toeboard) at floor level erected along exposed edges of a floor opening must be installed to prevent falls of materials on employees working below the floor.

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


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