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 22, 1992

Mr. M. C. De Clue, CSP
Safety Engineering Manager
National Advertising Company
6850 South Harlem Avenue
Bedford Park, Illinois 60501-1900

Dear Mr. De Clue:

Thank you for your inquiry of August 11, requesting an interpretation regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard at 29 CFR 1910.23(e)(4), with respect to the 4 inch (10.2 cm) nominal vertical height requirement for toeboards.

The enclosed Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment Proposed Rulemaking released April 10, 1990, proposes to change the 4 (10.2 cm) inch vertical height requirement for toeboards to 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm), at 29 CFR 1910.28(b)(7). We expect the Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment final rule will be released the spring of 1993.

Mr. Terence Smith of the Office of Fire Protection Engineering and Systems Standards, Directorate of Safety Standards Programs, has advised us that the toeboard vertical height requirement most likely will not be lowered from 3 1/2 (8.9 cm) inches in the final rule.

Rather than complying with the OSHA existing requirement of 4 inches (10.2 cm) or the proposed requirement of 3 1/2 inches (8.9 cm) you may rope off the fall area below the billboard platforms to prevent employee access when the platforms are being used.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact us.


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

[Corrected 4/4/2005.

Note: On April 10, 1990 OSHA published proposed revisions to Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Notices of Proposed Rulemaking; Slips; Falls; Trips in
Federal Register 55:13360-13441. It is available electronically only as an abstract. On May 2, 2003 OSHA reopened the rulemaking record on the proposed revisions to Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems). It was re-published in its entirety in Federal Register 68:23527-23568 and is available electronically.]