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.

May 12, 1992

Ms. Jane Obaggy
Arthur D. Little, Inc.
Acorn Park
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02140-2390

Dear Ms. Obaggy:

Thank you for your inquiry of April 10, requesting interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard at 29 CFR 1910.23(a)(2) as it pertains to protection for ladderway floor openings.

You specifically request clarification of the following items:

1. Does the phrase "except at entrance to opening" refer exclusively to standard toeboard or to both standard railing and standard toeboard?

2. Can a single vertically rising bar which must be pivoted approximately 80 degrees from the horizontal comply with the OSHA standard at 1910.23(a)(2)?

In response to item 1., the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.23(a)(2) requires that every ladderway floor opening be guarded by a standard railing with standard toeboards on all exposed sides. This means both standard railing and standard toeboard are required to satisfy the standard.

In response to item 2., a single vertically rising bar which must be pivoted approximately 80 degrees from the horizontal does not comply with the OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.23(a)(2). This standard requires a passage through the railing with a swinging gate, or so offset that a person cannot walk directly into the opening.

We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Sincerely,



Raymond Donnelly, Director
Office of General Industry
Compliance Assistance