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.

October 20, 1993

Mr. Christopher Barber
5080 N. Elston Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60630

Dear Mr. Barber:

This is in response to your letter of August 25, addressed to Ms. Patricia K. Clark, former Director of Compliance Programs. You inquired about Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standards which apply to elevator repair and servicing. We apologize for the delay in this response. The questions you asked and the corresponding replies follow.

Question 1: What OSHA standards apply to elevator repair and servicing?

Reply: Because OSHA standards address broad categories of hazards, and only a few specific industries it would be difficult to identify all OSHA standards which apply to the elevator repair and servicing industry. However, some particular OSHA General Industry and Construction standards (29 CFR 1910 and 29 CFR 1926, respectively) may be applicable to elevator safety. Your clients should at least be familiar with OSHA standards in such areas as confined space entry, lockout/tagout, fall protection, electrical safety, welding, hand & power tools, and hazard communication, to name a few.

Question 2: When would elevator pits be considered a confined space?

Reply: The definition of a confined space is a space which has limited or restricted means of entry or exit, is large enough for an employee to enter and perform assigned work, and is not designated for continuous occupancy by the employee. These spaces may include, but are not limited to, underground vaults, tanks, storage bins, pits and diked areas, vessels, and silos. They may also include elevator pits. Not all confined spaces, however, require entry permits. Employers must evaluate the workplace to determine if the space is a permit-required confined space.

Whether an elevator pit would be considered a permit-required confined space will have to be decided on a case by case basis by the employer who is ultimately responsible for the elevator.

Question 3: Who would be responsible for compliance to the standards; i.e.: building management or individual companies?

Reply: OSHA's policy provides that on a multi- employer worksite each employer may be cited for a violation and subject to an appropriate penalty, if employees are exposed to a hazard.

The Field Operations Manual (FOM) provides, at Chapter V, F.1.a., that, in addition to citing employers whose employees are exposed to hazards (the exposing employer), the following employers shall normally be cited, whether or not their own employees are exposed:

(1) The employer who actually creates the hazard (the "creating employer");

(2) The employer who is responsible, by contract or through actual practice, for safety and health conditions on the worksite; i.e., the employer who has the authority for ensuring that the hazardous condition is corrected (the "controlling employer");

(3) The employer who has the responsibility for actually correcting the hazard (the "correcting employer").

Thus, the answer to your question, would depend on the specifics as to who is the creating, the controlling or the correcting employer.

We hope this information is responsive to your concerns. We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health, if we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Roger A. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs