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.

March 24, 1995

Mark Totten
Flintco, Inc.
P.O. Box 490
1624 West 21st Street
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74101-0490

Dear Mr. Totten:

This is in response to your December 19, 1994, letter requesting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to comment on whether or not reinforcing steel bent to a horizontal position constitutes an impalement hazard. We have reviewed the six drawings you included in your letter and agree that reinforcing steel bent and configured as per your drawings would not constitute an impalement hazard and would meet the requirement of 29 CFR 1926.701(b).

If you require further assistance, please contact [the Directorate of Construction at 202 693-2020].


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

[Corrected 4/26/2005]

December 19, 1994

To: Mr. Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D. Director
Office of Construction & Maritime Compliance Assistance
200 Constitution Ave N.W., Room 3610
Washington D.C. 20210

Re: 29 CFR 1926.701(b)

Mr. Gurnham:

The requirements of 1926.701(b) has been a continuous problem in the construction industry. The use of manufactured caps (flat or mushroomed) are only to be used to protect employees who are on the same grade. Job built wooden troughs is another alternative, but when the troughs are removed in order to place additional reinforcing steel then the exposure is once again present.

In the past OSHA has recognized that reinforcing steel that is bent to a horizontal position does not present a impalement hazard. With this in mind I am submitting for you review and comment drawings SK-1 through SK-6.

I have been looking at this means of meeting the requirements of 1926.701(b) for the past few weeks. I have come to the conclusion that this would allow an employer to be in compliance at all times with the above standard. This would be at a very minimal cost to the employer and would afford protection to employees at all times.

I look forward to your favorable response concerning this matter.

Mark Totten
Director of Safety