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 http://www.osha.gov.

June 5, 1991 [Reviewed May 31, 2018]

Mr. Michael S. Holman
Bricker & Eckler
100 South Third Street
Columbus, Ohio 43215-4291

Dear Mr. Holman:

This is in response to your letter of April 16, requesting an interpretation of 29 C.F.R. Part 1926.650, et seq.

Specifically, you advised that a client of your firm has asked whether it must test soil under the requirements of the above cited part of 1926, if it assumes the soil is Type C soil and provides the required employee protection for Type C soil, regardless of the type of soil present. Your client therefore feels that no purpose would be served by soil testing in that circumstance and soil testing should not be required, assuming the employer provides the employee protection required for Type C soil.

Since Type C soil is the lowest strength (weakest) soil, if the employer meets the requirements of 29 C.F.R. 1926.652 (Requirements for Protective Systems) and Appendices A, B, C and D to Subpart P, as applicable to Type C soil, soil testing would be superfluous and not required. I must stress the employer bears the burden of proof that this is, indeed, the case.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impact a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.*


Gerald P. Reidy, Director
Office of Construction and
Maritime Compliance Assistance

*[This letter has been modified (non-substantive changes) on May 31, 2018, and reflects current OSHA regulations and policies.]