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 27, 1995

Mr. Bradley W. Nester
Director of Customer Services
High Reach Co., Inc.
984 Bethlehem Pike
Montgomeryville, PA 18936-9604

Dear Mr. Nester:

Thank you for your letter dated January 25 concerning the new fall protection provisions of Subpart M and their application to various types of aerial lifts.

As you may know, vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating work platforms are covered for construction activities by both Subpart L -- Scaffolds. and Subpart N -- Cranes, Derricks, Hoists, Elevators, and Conveyors. Although paragraph .556 of Subpart N contains additional specific provisions for this type of equipment, [T]he Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) considers them to be scaffolds. As you point out in your letter, although both [1926.453] and .556(a) contain[s] references to the ANSI A 92.2-1969 standard, OSHA recognizes the more recent versions of that document including the A92.2 standard addressing vehicle-mounted elevating and rotating aerial devices and the A92.5 standard addressing boom-supported elevating work platforms. Those two industry standards and OSHA's .556(b)(2)(v) require the wearing of approved fall protection devices even when the equipment is provided with guardrails. This is to protect employees in the event the boom bounces or an employee climbs the guardrails to gain additional access. While body belts are specifically required by OSHA's provision, the criteria for the body belts is not provided. Therefore, while Subpart N sets the duty to have fall protection, Subpart M sets the criteria for the fall protection system--the body belt. Since Subpart M does not permit the use of body belts as part of a personal fall arrest system after December 31, 1997, you will have to use body harnesses if the employee is exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more to a lower level. However, if the body belt is used to restrain the employee (i.e. to prevent climbing the guardrail system, or bouncing out of the protective enclosure of the guardrail system), rather than as a personal fall arrest system, you may continue the use of body belts.

[This document was edited on 10/02/98 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy.]

If you require further assistance, please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance, at (202) 219-8136.


Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary


January 25, 1995

200 Constitution Ave., NW.
Washington, DC 20210

Dear Mr. Joseph A. Dear,

I am writing to you regarding the Department of Labor's final ruling on Safety Standards for Fall Protection in the Construction Industry, 29 CFR 1910 and 1926. I believe our industry may be affected by this new ruling even though it is not specifically mentioned in this new ruling. As I understand, section 1926.556 Aerial Lift, and the reference to the American National Standards for Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms, ANSI A92.2-1969, including appendix, even though not specifically mentioned, OSHA will recognize the ANSI standards that followed the A92.2-1969. (Such as the A92.3, A92.5, A92.6, A92.7, A92.8, and A92.9).

After reviewing Federal Register Vol. 59, No. 152, it is very clear that after January 1, 1998 the use of body belts as a fall arrest device will be prohibited by OSHA.

As you know the ANSI/SIA A92.2 and A92.5 standards require the manufacturers to include a guard rail system and require all personnel in the platform to wear approved fall protection devices such as a body belt or harness with a connected lanyard. It appears that the ANSI standard and this new ruling, is leading to confusion in the field. As I understand the new ruling, personal fall protection must be worn in the absence of guard rails, but not body belts. However, if the operator of an aerial lift is inside a guard rail system, why isn't a body belt an acceptable personal fall protection device?

Out of all the construction site statistics reviewed in consideration for this new ruling, how many of the falls were from aerial lifts? Was there a survey done of the aerial lift industry, while considering this new ruling?

As a dealer for many of the major manufacturers of aerial platforms over the last 20 plus years, we are very concerned about how this new ruling may effect our industry.

High Reach Co. has always led the way in promoting safety and the prevention of personal injury. It has not always been well received by all of the users of aerial lifts. Construction workers standing inside a guard rail system, very rarely will follow our direction to even wear a body belt. I believe we will have an even less favorable response if we need to insist on the wearing of body harnesses.

Please, don't take this letter in a negative way. Everyone needs to do more to prevent personal injuries in the work place, however, let's be sure to consider the real world. And maybe it wasn't the intention to prohibit the use of body belts in our type of application. I truly hope that is the case. it certainly would be more practical and be received much more positively in this industry.

As a active participant in a number of dealer and contractor associations we really would like to hear back from you regarding our concerns. And once again, there is confusion in the field on whether or not this new ruling applies to our industry. Looking forward to hearing from you.

I have taken the liberty to enclose our company brochure so you have a better idea of who and what our company is all about.

Sincerely, HIGH REACH CO., INC.

Bradley W. Nester
Director of Customer Services