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.

February 20, 2004

Mr. Bret W. Barnard
WBM Heritage Roofing, Inc.
P.O. Box 186
Kyle, TX 78640

Re: Hard hat requirements for workers on a roof; §1926.100

Dear Mr. Barnard:

This is in response to your letter dated February 4, 2004, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) concerning §1926.100. You request clarification of the standard as it applies to the wearing of hard hats on a roof-top construction site.

We have paraphrased your question below:

Question: My employees are working on a one story roof with no construction being done overhead. Also, there is no equipment on the roof that poses a risk of head injury. My roofers remove their hard hats once they are on the roof and place them back on before coming down. Is this a violation of §1926.100? (Note that the builder/general contractor requires our workers to wear them while on the roof.)

29 CFR 1926.100(a) states:

Employees working in areas where there is a possible danger of head injury from impact, or from falling or flying objects, or from electrical shock and burns, shall be protected by protective helmets.

As OSHA previously stated in an August 23, 1983, letter to Congressman Sisisky, "where employees are not exposed to possible head injuries, head protection is not required by OSHA standards." In your scenario, where no work is being performed overhead and there is no employee exposure to possible head injuries, there is no OSHA requirement that hard hats be worn while on the roof.

Note that OSHA standards set minimum safety and health requirements; they do not prohibit employers from adopting more stringent requirements.

If you need additional information, please contact us by 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