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 21, 1993
MEMORANDUM FOR: MICHAEL G. CONNORS Regional Administrator FROM: ROY F. GURNHAM, Director Office of Construction & Maritime Compliance Assistance SUBJECT: Product Review - Hatch Net
This is in response to your memorandum of March 23, requesting the National Office to develop a unified response concerning the acceptability of the Hatch Net system. Attached is a copy of such a response sent to Superior Concrete Co., the distributor of this product.
April 20, 1993
Stephen J. Ray
Superior Concrete Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 223
Auburn, Maine 04212-0223
Dear Mr. Ray:
This is in response to your March 2 letter to Mr. Gilbert Saulter, Regional Administrator for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in Dallas, Texas. Your letter was forwarded to this office for response to your request for review of the Hatch Net 120 fall protection system.
Please be advised that OSHA does not approve nor endorse products. The variable working conditions at jobsites and possible alterations or misapplication of an otherwise safe product could easily create a hazardous condition beyond the control of the manufacturer. Nevertheless, we have reviewed the product data enclosed with your letter and it appears that the Hatch Net 120 fall prevention system could reduce the hazards associated with hatch openings. However, the OSHA construction, maritime, and general industry regulations addressing such openings presently require the use of guardrail systems or covers. Your system would not offer equivalent protection. However, the general industry standards are currently being revised to allow the use of nets as fall protection when guardrails are infeasible (see proposed paragraphs 29 CFR 1910.28(a)(1) and (h) of the enclosed copy of the proposed rulemaking). Violations of the existing rules would, therefore, be considered as "de minimis" provided the proposed requirements are followed. A "de minimis" violation is one which has no direct or immediate relationship to employee safety or health.
With respect to your question concerning available data on hatch fall-through-type accidents, enclosed is a printout of information we have on file. If you have further questions on this data I suggest you contact Mr. Steve Newell in the Office of Statistics at (202) 219-6463.
Roger A. Clark
Directorate of Compliance Programs
March 2, 1993
OSHA Regional Office
525 Griffen Square Building - Room 602
Dallas, Texas 75202
Dear Mr. Saulter:
Thank you for taking the time to read this introductory letter. I am very excited to be able to introduce to you THE HATCH NET 120 fall prevention system, manufactured and patented by Safe Approach Inc., Auburn, Maine. As you can see from the enclose brochure the system consists of a pair of bracket and pipe assemblies and a safety net. The general idea behind the product is to prevent accidental falls into access hatch opening, while allowing for access if and when desired.
The purpose of my letter is three fold:
1. First and most importantly, we are looking for feedback from you as to the usefulness and practicality of this product from your perspective.
2. Secondly, I feel it important to introduce the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to our new product so that you would be aware that it is available.
3. Thirdly, I am inquiring to see if there is any data available concerning access hatch fall throughs. We hope that, with this product, we will be filling a needs and saving lives at the same time.
Please consider forwarding comments, questions, concerns, and data to my attention at, Superior Concrete Co., Inc. P.O. Box 223, Auburn, Maine 04212-0223 or fax at (207) 784-9647.
Once again, thank you for your time.
SUPERIOR CONCRETE CO., INC.
Stephen J. Ray