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 12, 1991

Mr. Victor T. Alksnis
124 Galley Avenue
Toronto, Ontario M6R 1H1

Dear Mr. Alksnis:

Thank you for your inquiry of April 29, requesting information regarding fall protection while climbing and working on a steel lattice structure resembling a communication tower. We apologize for the delay in responding.

Employers must provide employees working at heights with fall protection, such as personal fall protection systems, safety net systems, guardrail systems or other alternative fall protection. However, the information in your letter is not sufficient for us to thoroughly evaluate and respond to your concerns. If you should need a more detailed response from us, please provide us answers to the following questions:

1. How is the steel lattice structure resembling a communication tower used?

2. What type of work is required (construction, salvage, maintenance, up grading, or whatever type)?

3. Is there a citation pending involving your above concerns?

In response to additional aspects of dour inquiry, Canadian companies with employees working in the United States fall under the jurisdiction of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), as described in Section 4 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act (copy enclosed). The OSH Act specifies that it covers employees working in the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands, Wake Island, Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, Johnston Island, and the Canal Zone. The only exceptions are employees of Federal Agencies, and State agencies acting under section 274 of the Atomic Energy of 1954 as amended (42 U.S.C. 2021). The exceptions are found in Section 4(b) of the Act. Federal employees are afforded equivalent protection under Executive Order 12196.

The proposed initial penalty for a serious violation related to fall protection can range from $1,500 to $7,000.00. The penalty for a repeated or willful violation can range as high as $70,000,00, and criminal willful violations can result in imprisonment of responsible parties and much higher monetary penalties, depending on the circumstances.

We have also enclosed the publication, ALL ABOUT OSHA, that provides answers to most of your other questions. We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. Please do not hesitate to contact us again if you need further assistance.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs