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.

July 8, 1997

Mr. Ronald W. Bennett
Carbis, Incorporated
P.O. Box 6229
Florence, SC 29502-6229

Dear Mr. Bennett:

This is in response to your April 16 letter requesting interpretation of the 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E-Means of Egress standard. Please accept our apology for the delay in responding. Your workplace scenario and questions and our replies follow.

Scenario: A loading rack for servicing bulk carriers such as tank trucks or tank cars is, in I general, an elevated platform. The operator uses fold down ramp or articulated stairs to access the top of the tank truck or tank car. See the enclosed sketch.

Question 1: Is the 29 CFR 1910 Subpart E Means of Egress standard applicable to the above scenario?

Reply: No. However, 29 CFR 1910 Subpart D-Walking-Working Surfaces is applicable to your scenario. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has proposed to revise this Subpart. A copy of the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (published in the Federal Register, Volume 55, Number 69, on Tuesday, April 10, 1990) is enclosed for your use. Please be advised that employer compliance with a proposed rule, in lieu of compliance with an existing rule, is considered a "de minimis violation," that is, a violation of an existing OSHA standard which has no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health. Such violations of the OSHA standards result in no citation, no penalty, and no required abatement.

Question 2: Are there any loading rack width requirements?

Reply: OSHA standards, including those identified in the reply to Question 1 above, do not specify width requirements for the loading rack you described. We recommend that a minimum width of 18 inches (45.2 cm) be used. A wider loading rack may be necessary to provide for the safe access of the operator when carrying tools or equipment required to do the job.

We appreciate your interest in occupational safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact [the Office of General Industry Enforcement at 202 693-1850].


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]

[Corrected 4/4/2005.

Note: On April 10, 1990 OSHA published proposed revisions to Walking and Working Surfaces; Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Notices of Proposed Rulemaking; Slips; Falls; Trips in
Federal Register 55:13360-13441. It is available electronically only as an abstract. On May 2, 2003 OSHA reopened the rulemaking record on the proposed revisions to Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems). It was re-published in its entirety in Federal Register 68:23527-23568 and is available electronically.]