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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

March 31, 1994

Mr. Carl Ritchie
Project Manager/Estimator
Alumaguard Corporation
2280 South Lipan Street
Denver, Colorado 80223

Dear Mr. Ritchie:

Thank you for your inquiry of February 25, requesting an interpretation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard at 29 CFR 1910.23. Specifically, you asked if toeboards are required on walkways over the interior of a water tank that is 90% full of water when in use and access to the interior of the tank is not permitted. We apologize for the delay in our response.

OSHA standard requirements are only applicable when there is exposure to hazards that are likely to cause death or physical harm to employees. Toeboards are required around walking or working surfaces above employees who are exposed to the hazard of being struck by falling tools or equipment that are kicked off or dropped from above. In your particular case, as long as access to the interior of the water tank is not permitted, employees will not be exposed to hazards created by falling tools or equipment from the walkways into the water tank.

We appreciate your interest in employee safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.



H. Berrien Zettler, Deputy Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs