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.

September 10, 1992


                   REGION X


SUBJECT: The Use of Billy Pugh Baskets in the Fishing and Fish Processing Industry


This is in response to your memorandum of June 5 on the subject matter. You asked if the guidance provided in our March 6, 1989 memorandum (copy attached) to you applies to the transfer of employees between vessels in the fishing and fishing process industries.

Our March 6, 1989 memorandum was in error to the extent it may have implied there are no regulations in the OSHA maritime or general industry standards that address transferring personnel from vessel to vessel. In fact, 29 CFR 1910.132 has been used by OSHA in the past to address similar hazards. The specific hazards addressed in your request are covered by 29 CFR 1910.132 and Section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, which as you know requires that each employer must furnish to each of his employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to his employees.

The use of the Billy Pugh basket is not acceptable to OSHA in the fishing and fish process industry for the following reasons:

1. The possibilities of an employee falling from the Billy Pugh basket and of the basket striking the deck with great force are not acceptable to OSHA. The Billy Pugh basket does not meet the OSHA minimum fall protection requirements. In addition, the basket design and delivery system provide no assurance of an impact-free delivery, particularly in rough waters.

2. An accommodation ladder provides an acceptable method of transferring personnel. In extreme weather transporting of personnel is not permitted by any means. A picture and description of an accommodation ladder are attached.

3. Both the U.S. Navy and Merchant Marine utilize the accommodation ladder for transfer operations such as those described in your memorandum.