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 http://www.osha.gov.

June 25, 1996

Mr. Thomas J. Davies
Retro/Safety Manager
Washington State Mason
Contractors Retro Group
3101 Northrup Way, Suite 105
Bellevue, Washington 98004

Dear Mr. Davies:

This is in response to your letter of April 11 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you request a clarification of the masonry wall bracing requirements contained in 29 CFR 1926.706(b).

As you recognize, the requirement to install bracing applies to all masonry walls over eight feet tall that are not otherwise adequately supported. This is the case whether the wall contains reinforcing steel (rebar) or not. It is the responsibility of the employer to assure that walls not adequately supported to withstand all normally expected forces, which would include prevailing wind pressure loads, building geometry, and wall location, are braced. If the employer determines the wall is capable of withstanding the forces applied during construction, then the wall would be considered to be adequately supported and would not require racing. The employer must be prepared to substantiate this determination.

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again by writing to:

Directorate of Construction - OSHA
Office of Construction Standards and Compliance Assistance
Room N-3621
200 Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210

Sincerely,

Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D.
Director
Office of Construction Services
Directorate of Construction