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.

February 28, 1997

Mr. T. A. (Terry) Ibbetson
CON-SPACE Communications Inc.
1160 Yew Avenue
P.O. Box 1540
Blane, WA 98231-1540

This is in response to your letter of February 4, to former Assistant Secretary Joseph A. Dear, regarding hard-line communication equipment for use in 29 CFR 1910.146 - Permit-Required Confined Spaces (PRCS). The Directorate of Compliance Assistance has been directed to respond to your letter.

Your letter and its attachment emphasizing the advantages of hard-line communications in PRCS is well taken and is being forwarded to the Directorate of Safety Standards Programs for inclusion in their subject file for the PRCS standard. However, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration cannot specify or recommend one type of communication device or system over another for use in PRCS by authorized entrants and attendants or by the rescue service. As a performance standard, 29 CFR 1910.146 requires the employer to determine the type of communication equipment necessary for the space being considered. The standard does provide employers with performance criteria through reference in paragraphs (h)(3), (i)(5), and (i)(6). Employers must meet these performance requirements to be in compliance.

If you have further questions regarding this letter, please contact Mr. Don Kallstrom in the Office of Safety Compliance Assistance at 202 219-8031 x 109.


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