- Standard Number:
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.
February 28, 2001
Mr. H. B. Bud Hayden, Jr.
Winslow House, Unit 801
100 SE Second Street
Minneapolis, MN 55414
Re: American National Standards Institute, ANSI, A92, 1910.1, 1910.6
Dear Mr. Hayden:
This is in response to your March 24, 2000, letter addressed to Ms. Jule Jones, at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), in which you ask OSHA to clarify how the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards affect OSHA's enforcement program, and the effect of later revisions to consensus standards on OSHA standards. You ask that we comment on the ANSI A92 series, specifically the A92.6-1999 standard for Self-Propelled Elevating Platforms.
Question 1: What is the significance of ANSI standards with respect to OSHA requirements?
Answer: A number of ANSI and other industry consensus standards have been adopted as OSHA requirements. 29 CFR 1926.453 Aerial Lifts (previously numbered §1926.556), which is part of OSHA's construction scaffolding standard, Part 1926 Subpart L, is one example where OSHA incorporated by reference an ANSI standard. This provision, which was originally promulgated under the Construction Safety Act and then adopted as an OSHA standard in 1971, requires that aerial lifts be designed and constructed in accordance with ANSI A92.2-1969, titled Vehicle Mounted Elevating and Rotating Work Platforms.
Industry consensus standards can also play a role in evaluating employer responsibilities under section 5(a)(1) of the OSH Act, also known as the General Duty Clause. That provision requires employers to:
"furnish to each of [its] employees employment and a place of employment which are free from recognized hazards that are causing or are likely to cause death or serious physical harm to [its] employees."
Industry consensus standards can be evidence that an industry recognizes a hazard and that there are feasible means of correcting the hazard.
Question 2: Where an OSHA standard incorporates an old consensus standard, what is the significance of an updated ANSI standard for OSHA requirements?
Under OSHA's de minimis policy, where OSHA has adopted an earlier consensus standard, employers who are in compliance with the updated version will not be cited for a violation of the old version as long as the new one is at least equally protective.
Remember, though, that where an OSHA standard incorporates an earlier consensus standard, the only way the OSHA standard can be changed to adopt the new version is through rulemaking. For example, as stated above, the aerial lift standard references ANSI A92.2-1969. Even though ANSI A92.2 has been revised, the OSHA aerial lift standard continues to require only compliance with the 1969 standard.
Subpart L, which was published in 1996, contains a non-mandatory appendix that lists the A92-1990 and 1993 consensus standards that are considered to provide employee protection equivalent to ANSI A92.2-1969. Appendix C reflects the proliferation of equipment-specific ANSI standards since the adoption of the 1969 document. Employers complying with these later versions are considered to have provided protection equivalent to the 1969 requirements.
If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction