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.

December 2, 1991

Mr. Paul Vincent Bonfiglio
Safety Advisor
Vincent Safety Services Company
357 Hempstead Turnpike, Suite 206
West Hempstead, New York 11552

Dear Mr. Bonfiglio:

This is in response to your September 26 letter requesting an interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's requirement for the use of protective helmets. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

In regard to whether workers erecting scaffolding with nothing above them are required to wear protective helmets, please be advised that although there may be no hazards from falling objects during scaffolding erection, possible danger of head injury still exists. Employees are susceptible to impact-type head injuries while handling scaffolding material at head level, bending and leaning between scaffolding members and from slips and falls. Therefore, protective helmets are required.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Roy F. Gurnham or Dale R. Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 523-8136.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs