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.

June 8, 1998

David L. Grissom
Grissom, Richards & Featherston, Inc.
3700 Montrose Blvd.
Houston, Texas 77006

RE: 29 CFR 1926.501(b)(1); 1925.501(b)(13); 1926.501(b)(15); 1926.502(k);

Dear Mr. Grissom:

This is in response to your letter addressed to Mr. Roy Gurnham, former Director of the Office of Construction Standards and Compliance Assistance, and subsequent telephone conversation with Ms. Jule Jones of this office. You requested an interpretation of OSHA's fall protection requirements for workers located at the edge of an empty residential swimming pool.

The edge of a completed swimming pool not yet filled with water would be considered an unprotected side or edge of a walking/working surface, and conventional fall protection would be required if workers were exposed to a fall of 6 feet or more (§1926.501(b)(1)). The alternative fall protection measures in Subpart M for residential construction apply only to work on a residential building being constructed. Those measures do not apply to employees exposed to fall hazards at the pool while they are off the building. Under the conditions that you describe, it appears as though section §1926.501(b)(15) would apply.

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to [contact us by fax (202-693-1689) at: U.S. Department of Labor — OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20210; although, there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.]


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction

Corrected on 03/29/2006

December 30, 1997

Mr. Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., J.D.
Director, Office of Construction and
Maritime Compliance Assistance
200 Constitution Avenue, Room N3610
Washington, D.C. 20210

Re: Subject: Safety Procedures During Gunite Residential Pool Construction.

Dear Mr. Gurnham:

My firm has a client who fell into a residential pool under construction not yet filled with water. Are there OSHA standards which apply whose purpose is to prevent an occurrence such as the one I have described? What OSHA standards apply which would eliminate or reduce the hazards of a person falling into a residential swimming pool not yet filled with water?

Your immediate and timely response is anticipated. If you have a question, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Very truly yours,

David L. Grissom