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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.
April 16, 1992
Mr. Herbert B. Weller
5222 Old Fairgrounds Dr.
Indianapolis, Indiana 46226
Dear Mr. Weller:
This is in response to your March 12 letter in which you provided to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) additional information concerning rear fly extension ladders. The information you have provided has been helpful to OSHA in determining what action, if any, is needed to protect the users of the rear fly extension ladders manufactured by Keller Industries.
As you know, the Keller ladder meets both OSHA and ANSI requirements. The problem you pointed out in previous letters centers on the instructions provided by the manufacturer to the purchaser of a ladder. If the purchaser is an employer who will give the ladder to employees for use, then OSHA's concern is with the instructions the employer gives the employees concerning the ladder. Paragraph 1926.1060(a)(1) requires all such training to be given by a competent person (defined by 1926.32(f) as "one who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them") and such training must include the proper placement of ladders (see 1926.1060(a)(1)(iii)). It is our interpretation of these requirements that a competent person would be knowledgeable about the placement requirements of rear-fly ladders and that failure to train employees accordingly would therefore result in a citable situation.
OSHA does not presently attempt to enforce with respect to "improper" instructions given to a purchaser by a manufacturer. We have, however, discussed our concerns with Keller Industries and they are reviewing the need to modify the wording of the instructions.
With regard to issuing a hazard alert to our field offices, a copy of all relevant correspondence has been circulated to our field offices.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. Your interest in the safety of the Nation's workforce is appreciated.
Dorothy L. Strunk
Acting Assistant Secretary