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.

July 23, 1990

Mr. C. Gregory Reynolds
Vice President of Operations
Bay Nets Incorporated
135 Wood Road
Braintree, Massachusetts 02184

Dear Mr. Reynolds:

This is in response to your letter of June 21, concerning the Occupational Safety and health Administration's (OSHA) acceptance and treatment of abatement methods specified in the proposed standard, 29 CFR 1910.28, Fall Protection Systems.

As we stated in our May 29 letter, OSHA is accepting the abatement methods specified in the proposed standard. If OSHA observes abatement of fall hazards only by methods mentioned in the proposed standard, 29 CFR 1910.28, this would be considered a de minimis violation with no citation issued and no penalty assessed. In other words, there would be no citation, fine, or penalty, when an employer provides fall protection in accordance with this proposed standard. However, please be aware of the burden placed on the employer by the proposed standard at 1910.28(a)(1), to show that the use of a guardrail system is infeasible, if other methods of fall protection are utilized. Therefore, if a guardrail system is not utilized, and the employer cannot satisfactorily show OSHA that guardrails are not feasible, then citations and fines may be appropriate.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us. Thank you for your interest in safety and health.


Patricia K. Clark Directorate
Designate Directorate of Compliance Programs