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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

August 31, 1988

Mr. W. Patrick Morris
Vice President and General Counsel
Shipbuilders Council of America
1110 Vermont Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005-3553

Dear Mr. Morris:

This is in response to your letter of August 15, addressed to Assistant Secretary John A. Pendergrass, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) interpretation of 29 CFR 1915.71(j)(2) as defined in OSHA Instruction STD 3-10.3.

OSHA does not concur with the maritime industry's definition of "taut" as stated in your letter. OSHA considers that chains, and wire rope or synthetic ropes used as guardrails on scaffolding are "taut" when meeting the criteria set forth in STD 3-10.3. This interpretation does not change the intent of the standard. Therefore, STD 3-10.3 remains in effect, as a guideline, for 29 CFR 1915.71(j)(2).

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health.


Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs