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NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.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

April 22, 1996

Mr. Bruce Whitman
Manager, Product Safety
Rapistan Demag Corporation
507 Plymouth Avenue, N.E.
Grand Rapids, MI 49505-6098

Dear Mr. Whitman:

This is in response to your letter of February 29, in which you asked for a letter of exemption from OSHA reg 1910.27 for your conveyor crossover stile. You were concerned because one of your customers was cited by an OSHA inspector in Indiana for violation of this standard while utilizing your product.

As was discussed with you in a telephone conversation on April 16, OSHA cannot grant a letter of exemption from the standard. You may apply for a variance to the standard by following the procedures as outlined in CFR 29, Subpart B, 1905.10-16. Bear in mind, however, that a variance can only be granted if your product is at least as safe as, or safer than, the requirements of the standard.

The standard is clear on the fact that the crossover should not be greater than 12 inches. Your crossover is 30 inches and according to the citation, even 32 inches in some places. You indicated that the standard is referring to crossing-over an opening. There is nothing in the language to suggest this restricted intent. The proposed standard (1910.23(c)(24)) states: "The step-across distance from the centerline of the steps or rungs of a fixed ladder to the nearest edge of the structure, building, or equipment accessed shall not exceed 12 inches (30 cm)."

Thank-you for your interest in safety and health. It you have further questions, please contact Pat Biles of my staff at (202) 219-8031, ext. 111.



John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs