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.

DEC 2 1991

Mr. Michael Lord
Safety Engineer
H.B. Zachry Company
P.O. Box 2534
Victoria, TX 77902

Dear Mr. Lord:

Your September 11 letter to Mr. Glenn Florczak requesting an interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements addressing fall protection equipment has been referred to the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance for reply. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

In regard to the use of knots in rope lanyards and rigging used for fall protection, please be advised that knots are not prohibited in lanyards and safety lines used for fall protection. However, OSHA does not recommend their use since they can reduce the effective breaking strength of the line by up to 50 percent. If the fall protection system is designed to accommodate this reduction in strength, knots, such as bowlines, can be used.

Please be advised that Section 1926.251(d)(2)(v) does prohibit the use of knots in lieu of splices in natural and synthetic fiber rope slings used for handling materials.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Dale R. Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 523-8136.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs