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.

November 2, 1995

Mr. Richard Marshall
Safety Director
Richard Goettle, Inc.
12071 Hamilton Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45231

Dear Mr. Marshall:

This is in response to your letter of December 31, 1994, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you asked if the fall protection standards, 29 CFR 1926.500-503, effective February 6, 1995, supersede OSHA Instruction STD 3-13.1, dated January 31, 1978, concerning tying off of loft workers, top men and pile monks during sheet piling activities. You pointed out that 1926.603(a)(8) requires pile driving equipment with fixed leads to have attachment points for loft workers to engage their safety belt lanyards. OSHA has previously interpreted this requirement to mean that only employees working on pile driver fixed leads, and not employees working on top of sheet piling, were required to be tied off. You asked if this interpretation had changed with the publication of the new fall protection requirements.

With the publication of the new fall protection standard, Field Information Memorandum #75-12 and OSHA Program Directive #100-81 (renamed OSHA Instruction STD 3-13.1) were inadvertently superseded. As a result, the work activity in question now comes under 1926.501(b)(15), Walking/Working Surfaces Not Otherwise Addressed, since the requirement in 1926.603(a)(8) is simply to provide an attachment point for employees and is not a specific duty to use fall protection. However, in promulgating the new fall protection rule, OSHA did not become aware of any information that warrants changing the interpretation contained in the earlier documents and, consequently, the interpretation found in STD 3-13.1 is still valid. Restated, OSHA's interpretation is that fall protection is required for employees on pile driver fixed leads and for employees on sheet piling unless the employees are on a work platform equipped with guardrails or are using stirrups.

If you have any questions, please call me or Dale Cavanaugh of my staff at (202)219-8136.


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