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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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 20, 1987

E.T.E. Sprague, P.E.
Managing Director
Steel Joist Institute
Suite A
1205 48th Avenue North
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina 29577

Dear Mr. Sprague:

This is in response to your letter of April 1 which refers to two previous letters dated October 17, and December 3, 1986, regarding the interpretation of "longspan" as used at 29 CFR 1926.751(c)(2). We regret that we have no record of receiving those letters in this office.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) clarification provided in our August 29, 1986, letter to you did not reflect a change in our enforcement policy. The word "longspan" is a recognized product type name for steel joists; however, the work "longspan" as used at 29 CFR 1926.751(c)(2) refers to any joist or truss spanning 40 feet or more. It was not the intention of OSHA's standard to use this term as the Steel Joist Institute defined it in its specification.

OSHA's Directorate of Safety Standards Programs is currently reviewing Subpart R of the construction standards and will probably publish in the Federal Register a notice of proposed rulemaking for safety standards on steel erection later this year or early next year. On April 1, proposed changes of Subpart R were discussed with members of the Advisory Committee on Construction safety and Health. A copy of our working draft has been enclosed for your information. We would welcome your comments on the working draft at this time and encourage you to comment when our notice of proposed rulemaking is published in the Federal Register. You may contact [the Directorate of Standards and Guidance], at the following address:

Directorate of Standards and Guidance
200 Constitution Avenue, NW
Rooms N3718 & N3609
Washington, D.C. 20210
(202) 693-1950

[Our] August 29, 1986 clarification does not conflict with the Office of Management and Budget issuance of Circular No. A-119, "Federal Participation in the Development and Use of Voluntary Standards."

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us.


Leo Carey, Director
[Directorate of Construction]

[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.]