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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.
December 10, 2007
Stephen J. Cloutier
Bovis Lend Lease
PO Box 32755 (28232-2755)
Three Coliseum Centre
2550 West Tyvola Road, Suite 600
Charlotte, NC 28217
Re: Are podium ladders covered under 29 CFR 1926 Subpart X or Subpart L?
Dear Mr. Cloutier:
This is in response to your letter dated September 21, 2006, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you submit pictures of a "podium ladder" and ask for guidance regarding its use during construction activities. We apologize for the long delay in our response.
We have paraphrased your question as follows:
Question: We are considering using "podium ladders" (see illustration below). Are there any OSHA requirements that prohibit their use in construction? If OSHA does not prohibit their use, must podium ladders meet the requirements of §1926 Subpart X (Stairways & Ladders) or Subpart L (Scaffolds)?
Answer: The requirements in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart L (Scaffolds) apply to "all scaffolds used in workplaces covered by this part" (see 1926.450(a)). "Scaffold" is defined in 1926.450(b) as:
. . .[A]ny temporary elevated platform (supported or suspended) and its supporting structure (including points of anchorage)), used for supporting employees or materials or both.
The device pictured in the photographs you sent incorporates both an elevated platform for supporting employees and an access ladder to the platform. In short, the device meets the definition of a scaffold. Consequently, the requirements in Subpart L, rather than Subpart X, would have to be met.
As long as the requirements in Subpart L are met, there is no prohibition against using the device. Note also that, as shown in one of the pictures you submitted (not included above), the device is on casters. Therefore, in addition to the generally applicable requirements in Subpart L, the requirements applicable to mobile scaffolds would also apply (see 1926.452(w)).
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.
Steven F. Witt, Director
Directorate of Construction