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.



July 12, 1993

Mr. Ernest B. Jorgensen, Jr.
Professional Safety Consultants Co., Inc.
Post Office Box 891
Seabrook, Maryland 20706

Dear Mr. Jorgensen:

This is in response to your May 13 letter in which you request that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) clarify the rules relating to pump jack bracing. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

In your letter you ask whether it would be an acceptable practice to secure the bottom of a pump jack scaffold to a stake in lieu of using a triangular brace attached to the work wall. Your proposed method of securing the bottom of a scaffold will usually constitute an "equivalent" means within the meaning of the standard, but the actual circumstances of any given use of a stake will obviously be important. According to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission, in a contested case proceeding, the burden of showing equivalency under a standard such as [1926.452(j)(2)] remains with the employer asserting it. You should also not overlook the other requirements of the standard.

[If you need any additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax (202) 693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.]


Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., Esq. Director
[Directorate of Construction]

[Corrected 10/22/2004]



May 13, 1993

Mr. Roy Gurnham
U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
Room No. N3621
200 Constitution Ave NW
Washington D.C. 20210

RE: 29 CFR 1926.451(y)(4)(iii) Pump Jack Scaffolds

Dear Mr. Gurnham:

We have some clients in the home building industry who frequently employ pump jack scaffolds while installing siding. For the most part we find the pump jacks are properly installed except that they are not in literal compliance with the requirement for triangular bracing, or equivalent, at the top and bottom attached to the work wall. Typically the pole is secured to the work wall at the top and tied off to a firmly installed stake at the bottom. Securing to the wall at the bottom would interfere with the work process.

Of course our difficulty is determining what is permissible under "equivalent". Must the pump jack scaffold be attached to the work wall? The standard seems to suggest that equivalent applies to the requirement for triangular bracing but not to where attachment must be made.

Your comments will be appreciated.


Ernest B. Jorgensen, Jr PE, CSP

cc: H. Hekmatian D. Denny