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.



May 3, 2001

Douglas L. Easter
H B Training & Consulting
84-A Jopenea Blvd.
Hoschton, GA 30548

Re: §1926.453(b)(2); aerial lifts; scissor lifts

Dear Mr. Easter:

This is in response to your letter of July 26, 2000, requesting interpretations on the use of aerial lifts to transport workers to and from elevated workstations and the applicability of §1926.453(b)(2)(iii) to scissor lifts. We apologize for the lateness of this response.

Question 1: Do the OSHA standards permit employers to use aerial lifts to transport workers to and from elevated work stations where the basket is either set down on an elevated surface or placed at the edge of a structure?

Answer: OSHA standards do not prohibit employees from exiting or entering an aerial lift basket that rests on or adjacent to an elevated surface. Section 1926.453(b)(2)(v) requires that employees working from aerial lifts be tied-off. On the other hand, when employees move from the basket to the elevated surface, the requirements in 29 CFR Part 1926 Subpart M apply. In particular, §1926.501(b)(1) requires fall protection at 6 feet above a lower level. A worker may enter or exit an aerial lift (at heights above 6 feet) provided that fall protection such as guardrails or a fall arrest system is used while the worker moves between the lift and the working surface. A fall arrest system and its components must meet the criteria in §1926.502(d). During entry to and egress from the lift, a worker may tie-off to the lift (if the lift is designed to withstand the vertical and lateral loads imposed by the employee's movement itself or by an arrested fall) or to an appropriate nearby structure.

Question 2: Do the provisions of §1926.453(b)(2)(iii) apply to scissor lifts?

Answer: No. Section 1926.453(b)(2)(iii), which prohibits "belting off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from an aerial lift," does not apply to scissor lifts. The aerial lift requirements (§1926.453) incorporate by reference the definition of aerial lifts used in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) A92.2-1969 standard. Scissor lifts are not addressed in that ANSI standard, and therefore are not covered by the aerial lift provisions. Since scissor lifts are a type of work platform, they are covered under the specific requirements for mobile scaffolds in §1926.452(w) and the general requirements for scaffolds in §1926.451.

Sections 1926.452(w) and 1926.451 do not address hazards associated with tying-off to an adjacent pole, structure, or equipment while working from a scissor lift. Under Section 5(a)(1) (the "General Duty Clause") of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (OSH Act), you would be prohibited from tying-off to the adjacent structure only in those situations where that practice is recognized as a hazard by the industry or by safety experts and another means of fall protection is feasible.

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

[Corrected 6/2/2005]