Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

January 19, 1994

Mr. Randy Heather
Standards Products Manager
P.O. Box 629
750 Airport Road
Terrell, TX 75160

Dear Mr. Heather:

This is in response to your December 9 letter requesting a statement of compliance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for your skylights.

OSHA neither approves nor endorses products or work practices, but when provided with adequate information, it can offer an opinion as to whether or not they afford compliance with certain regulations. We have reviewed the skylight test data enclosed with your letter and it appears that if the skylights are properly installed, they would prevent an employee from falling through the skylight and therefore the employer would be in compliance with OSHA's skylight opening guarding requirements.

Please be aware, however, the effectiveness your system can only be determined by a health and safety professional observing it in actual use under specific circumstances. Therefore, OSHA provides this review only with the understanding that no mention be made of our review in any advertising or promotional material.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact me or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 219-8136.


Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D.
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance

December 9, 1993

Mr. Roy Gurnham
Director of Office of Construction and
Maritime Compliance Assistance
200 Constitution Ave. N. W. Room N3610
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: Request for Compliance to the OSHA Regulations pertaining to skylight openings, specifically the General Industry Standard 29 CFR 1910.23 and the Construction Standard 29 CFR 1926.500.

Dear Mr. Gurnham,

I am addressing this request for compliance with the intent of the above regulations at the request of Mr. Dale Cavanaugh, Chief of the Division of Construction Compliance Assistance.

Our company has been a major skylight manufacturer since 1945. We are currently a division of Butler Manufacturing. You may be familiar with their recent product development achievement called SKY-WEB. Very much along the same line as with the SKY-WEB product, we at Naturalite\EPI feel that we have designed a product that meets the safety intent of the above referenced regulations in a manner different than outlined by those regulations. Those regulations call for all skylights to be guarded by a fixed standard railing or cage in order to prevent someone from falling thru the skylight accidentally. Our skylights will do this without a cage or fixed railing. When these skylights are installed over an opening there is no danger of falling thru the unit as described in regulation 1926.500(4), thus the need for a cage or fixed rail no longer exists.

This product line which we will call VERTEX has been tested and independently certified as you will see by the enclosed test reports. Since the OSHA regulations do not define what level of impact must be maintained, we have had to take some initiative in setting a number.

Approximately one year ago I had some conversations with Mr. Terry Smith, who is a Safety Standards Engineer for OSHA. During those conversations he indicated that a 250 pound man carrying 50 pounds of tools might be a reasonable scenario to look at. He also indicated that some studies had been done which showed the average person's center of gravity at approximately 46" in height. This information was consistent with the criteria setup for the SKY-WEB testing referred to earlier. We therefore have chosen a 300 pound sand bag dropped from a height of 46" above the plane of the roof. Taking into account that the skylight is typically sitting at least 8" off the plane of the roof, we arrived at a drop height of 31", also taking into account where the impact will occur on the skylight dome. Using a safety factor of 2 we have been successful in all of our tests.

The key to this product is basically its glazing material. This product uses only coated Lexan polycarbonate glazing manufactured by General Electric. It is the most advanced polycarbonate glazing available at this time and will continue to improve with the technology that General Electric possesses.

What we at Naturalite\EPI are hoping to achieve with OSHA is a letter of compliance with the intent of the referenced regulations and assurances that any owner who uses this product will not be cited for non compliance with the regulations. We reference the SKY-WEB product because we understand that this product has been given a similar status. Please review the enclosed data and should you need any additional information or perhaps even a demonstration please contact me at the number shown on this letter. Also, Mr. Gurnham, it is our wish to introduce this product in January 1994 and therefore your prompt attention will be greatly appreciated.


Randy Heather
Standard Products Mgr.

Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.