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.

July 2, 2003

Mr. Allan Fraticelli
Design Supervisor
GEA Power Cooling Systems
610 West Ash Street, 17th Floor
San Diego, CA 92101

Dear Mr. Fraticelli:

Thank you for your March 18, 2003 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's), Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You are requesting an interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.27(d)(2), Fixed Ladders, where landing platforms are required for every 30 feet of ladder, versus OSHA Pamphlet 3124, Stairways and Ladders, which states that landing platforms must be provided at maximum intervals of 50 feet.

Question: Would we be in compliance if we provide landing platforms at 50-foot intervals on the fixed ladders as stated in OSHA 3214 instead of providing landing platforms at 30-foot intervals on the fixed ladders, as mandated in 1910.27(d)(2)?

Response: As you may be aware, the scope and application of OSHA Pamphlet 3124 covers worksites that are regulated by OSHA's construction safety and health standards. As such, this pamphlet was not intended to cover worksites that are regulated by OSHA's general industry safety and health standards.

However, the source document for 29 CFR 1910.27 is ANSI A14.3-1956, Safety Codes for Fixed Ladders, which was adopted in 1971 in accordance with Section 6(a) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. The most current version, ANSI A14.3-1992, American National Standard for ladders -- fixed -- safety requirements, indicates that landing platforms are not required on fixed ladders with cages less than 50 feet in length, and landing platforms are required at every 50-foot interval on fixed ladders with cages extending a maximum unbroken length of 50 feet.

In addition, OSHA's Proposed Rule, 29 CFR 1910 -- Walking and Working Surfaces and Personal Protective Equipment (Fall Protection Systems); Notices of Proposed Rulemaking, dated April 10, 1990, Federal Register/Volume 55, Number 69, pages 13398 and 13399, "Proposed 29 CFR 1910.23, Ladders," allows for landing platforms to be installed at 50-foot intervals instead of the existing 30-foot interval for fixed ladders with cages which is mandated by 29 CFR 1910.27.

As you may know, the State of California administers its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved and monitored by Federal OSHA. States are required to have regulations that are, at least as effective as the federal standards, although they may be more stringent. In order to obtain California's policy on this issue, you may direct your inquiry to:

Charles Cake, Acting Director
California Department of Industrial Relations
P.O. Box 420603
455 Golden Gate Avenue, 10th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94102

Telephone: (415) 703-5050

Therefore, based on the above information, Federal OSHA would regard landing platforms installed at 50-foot intervals, as de minimis violations of the OSH standard for fixed ladders with cages. Federal OSHA does not issue citations or proposed penalties for de minimis violations, nor does Federal OSHA propose penalties for de minimis violations; and employers are not required to abate conditions that Federal OSHA considers to be de minimis violations. Also, when ladder safety devices are used with fixed ladders, platforms are not required.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. 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/. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.

Sincerely,

Richard E. Fairfax, 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.]