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 https://www.osha.gov.

November 18, 1987

Ms. Colleen Baker
Business Manager
Sign and Pictorial Painters Local 820
6301 Rockhill Road, Rm. 312
Kansas City, MO 64131

Dear Ms. Baker:

This is in response to your October 16, 1987 letter regarding the applicability of General Industry Standards to sign posting operations and the citation issued to Gannett Outdoor.

Based on the interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.12(b) by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (OSHRC), General Industry Standards 29 CFR 1910 is the applicable standard to sign posting operations. Construction work is defined to mean "work for construction, alteration, and/or repair, including painting and decorating." In the case of outdoor sign boards, the erection, repair or alteration, including the painting of the sign structure, would be covered by 29 CFR 1926. Posting of sign bills does not constitute "work for construction" as defined above. Since both standards do cover almost all the same hazards and do not contradict each other employee safety is not being compromised. In case of serious hazards not covered by the General Industry Standards, section 5(a)(1) of the OSHA Act can be used to cite violations. The above section requires the employer to provide a workplace free of recognized hazards.

In your letter you made a reference to 29 CFR 1926.104(b) as the standard requiring "lines be hooked into a stationary or permanent object or structure." While the above statement is generally correct, it is not clear to us what you meant by the term "lines." 29 CFR 1926.107 defines lanyards and lifelines only. "Lanyard" is defined as a rope suitable for supporting one person and which has one end secured to a safety belt. "Lifeline" is defined as a rope to which a lanyard or a safety belt is attached. Regardless of the above, 29 CFR 1910.104 does not apply in this situation, and 29 CFR 1910.132(a)--Personal Protective Equipment was used to cite the hazard of securing the lanyard to a hook ladder.

The above standard nor 29 CFR 1926.104 does not specifically address securing of lanyards. ANSI A10.14-75 recommends that the lanyard be secured to a lifeline or a fixed anchorage. Due to the lack of specific requirements for securing lanyards, we have to show that it is safe in the cited case to secure the lanyard to a hooked ladder. The citation issued to Gannett Outdoor, related to violation of 29 CFR 1910.132, was dismissed without prejudice. This particular citation had to be dismissed after review of all the facts involved and information available to us, including that supplied by you and Gannett Outdoors. We were advised by our attorneys, that the documentation provided was not sufficient in this case to uphold the violation. An adverse ruling would have a great impact as it would hinder enforcement activities related to the same procedure of securing lanyards to a hooked ladder. The above action will allow us to cite the same violation again when we have a case that is supportable and can be argued in Court.

Our National Office is currently evaluating the fall protection procedure of tying off to a hooked ladder. A national policy on this issue is forth-coming.

In your letter you also mentioned that there are various hazards present in the Kansas City area also. I suggest that you submit written and signed complaints to the OSHA Kansas City Area Office for the appropriate action. We are specifically interested in observing a condition where the ladder is likely to be detached from the board.

We appreciate your concern and help you have provided to us.


Roger A. Clark
Regional Administrator