Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

February 4, 1992

Mr. Rueben L. Raysor
Area Safety Manager
Bechtel Savannah River, Inc.
1997 South Centennial Building
Aiken, South Carolina 29803

Dear Mr. Raysor:

This is in response to your letters of July 8 and August 27, concerning the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) policy regarding fall protection requirements for steel erection activities. We apologize for the delay in responding to you.

With regard to your questions number 1 through 4, we have been advised by the Office of the Solicitor that Review Commission cases have determined that, other than 29 CFR 1926.105(a), there are no specific fall protection provisions or exemptions, outside Subpart R, that apply to steel erection connection-related activities. Consequently, the general duty clause is the only provision that can be cited for steel erection fall hazards where the fall distance is less than 25 feet. To assist in establishing the existence of the necessary four elements of [an OSHAct 5(a)(1)] citation, the National Office is developing an information package for use by all regions. Although not complete at this time, the information that has been compiled indicates that abatement methods can include the use of properly guarded aerial scaffolds and similar platforms, lifts, ladders, nets, or body belt/harness systems.

With regard to question 5, 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(2)(ii) states that where it is not practical to maintain a "tightly planked" (i.e. temporary) floor within two stories or 30 feet of locations where work is performed, then 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(1)(ii) applies and nets or scaffolds are required. Stated another way, where a temporary floor is maintained within two stories or 30 feet of such locations then 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(1)(ii) does not apply, and nets or scaffolds are not required.

With regard to questions 6 and 7, "scooting" or "cooning" the beam with a lanyard wrapped around the beam is an acceptable practice, as is the practice of wrapping lanyards around beams as tie off points.

With regard to question 8, OSHA Instruction STD 3-3.1 is being reviewed in light of the advice received from the Office of the Solicitor and the policy discussed above in response to questions 1-4.

If you need further assistance, please call [the Directorate of Construction at 202 693-2020].



Patricia K. Clark, Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Correction 6/20/2005. See OSHA Directive CPL 02-01-034 "Inspection policy and procedures for OSHA's steel erection standards for construction" published on 3/22/2002 for the current policy on OSHA's steel erection standards (1926 Subpart R) for construction.]

DATE: August 27, 1991
TO: Joe Bode
OSHA Construction & Maritime
FROM: Reuben Raysor, Area Safety Manager
Bechtel Savannah River, Inc.
SUBJECT: Follow-Up to Request for Clarification on Fall Protection
REF: Attached Letter Dated July 8, 1991

The attached letter was faxed and a copy was mailed to you last month. To date, I have not received a response to my request for clarification of OSHA 29 CFR, Part 1926. If possible, please provide me with answers to the questions I raised. However, if your office is not the appropriate one to supply such information, please furnish the name and telephone number of the person I should contact.

Any assistance you can give me would be appreciated.

If you have any questions, please call me at (803) 557-7902.

July 8, 1991


This is a follow-up to our recent conversation regarding he subject topic. I would appreciate your providing some additional information in the form of responses to the questions on the two-page attachment.

If your group is not the appropriate one to provide the information, please forward to the applicable OSHA organization.

As you are aware, there have been differing opinions regarding the interpretation of 1926, Subpart R and we are attempting to clarify information for contractors for which my organization provides safety oversight.

We are attempting to enforce the OSHA regulations in a consistent manner and would like to have the most current information available.

Any help you can provide on this subject would be appreciated.

If you have any questions, please contact me at (803)557-5702 or 557-7840.

Our facsimile number at this location is (803) 557-5556.

Our mailing address is:

Bechtel Savannah River, Inc.
P.O. Box 117
Augusta, GA 30913-2399
Attention: R. L. Raysor - MDC-131


1. Is it considered acceptable "industry practice" for steel erector employees to be permitted to "walk the beams" without fall protection?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

2. Are steel erector connectors permitted to be without secured fall protection when in the process of receiving a column or beam from a crane load line up until the point two bolts are installed?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

3. Are employees other than connectors required to have fall protection 100% of the time regardless of height?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

4. Does OSHA consider employees landing decking bundles and setting decking in place to be connectors and permitted "relaxation" of fall protection requirements?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

5. If steel erectors provide temporary flooring at 30 foots intervals, does that nullify the requirement for the use of nets when workers are exposed to a fall potential in excess of 25 feet? This refers to some contractors' position that 1926.750(b)(1)(ii) does not apply if the contractor installs temporary floors as stipulated in 1926.750(b)(2)(i).

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

6. Some contractors utilize the practice of having their employees sit on a beam with the safety belt lanyard wrapped around the beam and "scoot" along the beam for access or to go from "point A to point B" on a beam during structural steel erection.

Is this considered an acceptable practice?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

7. What is OSHA's position on employees wrapping their lanyards around beams as a tie off point?

Is there a specific regulation or directive used? If so, please provide the particular reference.

8. Is OSHA Instruction STD 3-3.1 applicable to steel erection?

Some contractors maintain that only the portion dealing with exterior fall hazards is applicable to steel erection and they use this to justify their employees not being required to tie off at heights of between 10 and 25 feet and is some cases up to 30 feet based on interpretations of 1926.750(b)(2)(i)

June 28, 1991

Donald R. Dobbin, President
Composite Constructions Systems, Inc.
Post Office Box 6506
2630 N. Lumpkin Road
Columbus, GA 31907

Dear Mr. Dobbins:

This is in response to your letter dated June 27, 1991 regarding the implementation of OSHA Construction standard 29 CFR 1926.750 at the B Area Engineering Center, Savannah River Site. We understand this is a tiered structure.

In order to answer your letter, we believe it is appropriate to give you some background information on 29 CFR 1926.750. A number of court decisions, to mention Donovan v. Daniel Marr & Son Company (U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit - OSAHRC Docket No. 84-1756, June 4, 1985), have stated that 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(1)(ii) is not "specifically applicable" to exterior fall hazards. Leslie A. Bermudez of the [Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine] staff confirmed this to you in a telephone conversation on June 28th. According to the facts states in your letter, it appears that you are meeting the intent of the standard as far as fall protection to the interior is concerned since you are temporarily decking as mandated by 29 CFR 1926.750(b)(2)(i) and using a static line system.

On the other hand, the Circuit Court also determined that 29 CFR 1926.105(a) regarding use of safety nets or their equivalent 25 feet or more above the ground is not pre-empted by standards found in Subpart R (Steel Erection) of 29 CFR 1926. In other words, they can be applied independently. In your particular case, 29 CFR 1926.105(a) applies to exterior fall hazards. Again, reviewing the facts addressed in your letter, it appears that you have also met the intent of this standard concerning fall protection to the exterior of the structure by providing static lines as a means of tie-off for employees traveling across the exterior beams.

If you have further questions, please contact [the Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine at 202 693-2300].



J. Russell Dugger, Assistant Regional Administrator
[Directorate of Science, Technology, and Medicine]

[Corrected 6/20/2005]

June 27, 1991

OSHA Regional Office
Atlanta, Georgia

Attn: Mr. Russ Dugger

Re: B Area Engineering Center Savannah River Site

Dear Sir:

Our firm is currently engaged to provide Structural Steel Erection and Metal Deck installation on the referenced project.

We are fully implementing CFR 29 1926.750 as regards safety procedures as this is a 3 story steel frame structure with floor heights of 14 feet.

The procedure we wish to use, based on our interpretation of this regulation, is as follows:

1. Stand columns and install 2nd floor beams (at 14 feet above ground).

2. Install 3rd floor beams (at 28 feet above ground).

Note: All personnel working above ground are required to wear safety belts and lanyard. Personnel are required to tie off whenever they are immobile. Temporary decking is installed to provide interior fall protection prior to any work above 30 feet.

Static lines are installed immediately at exterior conditions where fall hazards exceed 25 feet. These are ½ inch wire rope lines attached to exterior columns 42 inches above the floor level at the third floor (23 feet above ground) and at 26 inches below floor level at the roof elevation (42 feet above ground). These lines are installed as soon as exterior framing is connected to allow personnel needing to work at the building edge to tie off even when traveling across the exterior beams. Connectors working to install either the exterior beams or the static lines will tie off to exterior columns since all columns are one piece continuous steel and are secure after tie in of second floor steel.

It is our understanding that using this procedure on this type structure is fully in compliance with OSHA requirements for Steel Erection (to include deck installation).

Please advise us if you agree or in any way disagree with this.

I appreciate your time and request a response as soon as possible. If you have any questions, please call me at 404-487-4922. You may fax your response to 404-689-6981.

Thank you,


Donald R. Dobbins