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.

July 08, 2014

Stephen W. Almony
153 Drifting Sand Court
Henderson, NV 89074

Dear Mr. Almony:

Your question has been paraphrased below:
Thank you for your January 10, 2014 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Construction office of Construction Services. As you know, the State of Nevada administers its own safety and health program under a plan approved and monitored by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). As part of that program, the Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration is responsible for the enforcement and interpretation of occupational safety and health regulations in that State. You may reach NV/OSHA at:

1301 N. Green Valley Parkway, Suite 200
Henderson, NV 89074
Phone: (702) 486-9020
Fax : (702) 990-0365

In your letter you asked if a step stool similar in design to the one shown below, but with a height of 48 inches, can be used to allow a worker to stand on the top step.



Answer: No. The Federal OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1926.1050(b) defines a step stool which is the equipment you refer to as a self-supporting, foldable, portable ladder, nonadjustable in length, 32 inches or less in overall size, with flat steps and without a pail shelf, designed to be climbed on the ladder top cap as well as all steps. The side rails may continue above the top cap.

Since the equipment you referred to in your letter does not meet the definition of step stool (ladder type) as defined above, it must meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1926.1053 (b) (13) which prohibits using the top or top step of a stepladder as a step.

An in - depth explanation can be found in the Preamble for Safety Standards for Stairways and Ladders Used in The Construction Industry, section III, Summary and Explanation of the Final Rule.


Answer: As discussed above, a deposit system may be used. However, a deposit system that results in a cost to the employee would be prohibited by the payment rule if the employer is required to provide that PPE at no cost to the employee. For example, OSHA has said that reimbursement systems - in which an employee provides the PPE at his or her own cost and the employer reimburses the employee - that delay payment of PPE should not exceed one billing cycle or one pay period. Enforcement Guidance for Personal Protective Equipment in General Industry, OSHA CPL 02-01-050, 2011 at page 35.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Construction at (202) 693-2020.


James G. Maddux, Director
Directorate of Construction