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.



January 6, 2000



SUBJECT: Change in Policy Regarding Fall Protection While Riding in an Aerial Lift; Rescission of part of a January 9, 1975 interpretation letter


This is in response to Region III's memorandum, dated March 1, 1999, in which Region III suggests that we change a policy announced in a January 9, 1975 interpretation letter by Barry J. White, then Associate Assistant Secretary for Regional Programs. That letter stated that the aerial lift standard (originally §1926.556, now 1926.453) did not require workers to be tied-off while being transported in the bucket of an aerial lift to another work location. You requested that the interpretation be rescinded and that we interpret the term "working" to include being in the bucket while being transported. You indicated that the intent of the standard is to require fall protection at all times while an employee is in the aerial lift and that it is unlikely that the drafters of the source standard (ANSI A92.2-1969) meant to allow employees to be transported without fall protection.

Several sections of the aerial lift standard set requirements that apply when "working" in an aerial lift. With respect to fall protection, §1926.453(b)(2)(v) requires that fall protection be used "when working." It is well established that employees are considered to be working any time they are performing work or work-related activities. Moving from one work location to another is considered a work-related activity.
1 Employees in the bucket must wear fall protection at all times, including when in transit from one work location to another. This memorandum rescinds and supersedes the January 9, 1975 interpretation on this issue.

[Corrected 6/2/2005]




1 The Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission has ruled that 'work' includes the necessary activity of gaining access to the work station...." North Berry Concrete Corp. 13 BNA OSHC 2055 (No. 86-163, 1989), quoting Gelco Builders, Inc., 6 BNA OSHC 1104 (No. 14505, 1977). [ back to text ]