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.

June 18, 2019

MEMORANDUM FOR: REGIONAL ADMINISTRATORS
 
THROUGH: LOREN SWEATT
Acting Assistant Secretary
 
FROM: PATRICK J. KAPUST, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
 
SUBJECT: Termination of the January 2009 Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreement between United Parcel Service (UPS) and OSHA; Enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.37(a)(3) and 29 CFR 1910.36(g)(2)
 

On May 29, 2019, the 2009 United Parcel Service Corporate-Wide Settlement Agreement (UPS CSA) terminated. Two issues addressed in the UPS CSA are how OSHA intends to enforce the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.36(g)(2),1 which requires an exit access to be 28 inches wide at all points, and 29 CFR 1910.37(a)(3),2 which requires exit routes to be free and unobstructed, and that no materials be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route, for facilities in NAICS 492110 (Couriers and Express Delivery Services).

Although Subpart E, Exit Routes and Emergency Planning standards, requires the maintenance of a 28-inch clearance in an exit route, the Agency recognizes that in some instances strict maintenance of this clearance distance may not be possible at all times. Consequently, OSHA intends to continue to use the provisions of the UPS CSA as means to enforce the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.37(a)(3) and 29 CFR 1910.36(g)(2) for all facilities in NAICS 492110.

In particular, OSHA will generally not cite an employer in NAICS 492110 for a violation of 29 CFR 1910.37(a)(3) or 29 CFR 1910.36(g)(2) if the employer has established and enforced written job methods consistent with the following:

  • For operations where packages, materials, or other equipment must be placed temporarily in an exit route or exit access:

    • such articles are placed on one side of the aisle so as to leave at least one path for exit access, even if there is less than 28 inches of clearance; and

    • the packages, materials, or other equipment are placed so that they can be immediately moved in the event of an emergency evacuation.

    •  
  • For operations involving the loading and unloading of a trailer, straight truck, package car, or other vehicle, each loader, unloader, pickoff person, and supervisor must:

    • monitor conditions in and around the vehicle during loading and unloading operations; and

    • ensure that any impediments created by placed or fallen packages are minimized 

For both scenarios outlined above, under no circumstances may packages, materials, equipment, trailers, trucks, or other vehicles be placed in front of an exit door or at the top or bottom of a stairway that is part of an exit access.

If, during the course of an inspection, conditions involving the impediment of a 28-inch clearance in an exit route or exit access exists, the CSHO shall request all relevant documentation and conduct employee interviews to determine if appropriate work rules have been established. In the case of a specific obstruction hazard observed during an inspection, it shall be determined if these work rules have been established and implemented properly. After an analysis of the evidence, the Area Director shall determine whether a citation is appropriate.

If you have questions regarding this policy, please contact John King at king.john.e@dol.gov or (202) 693-1925 in the Directorate of Enforcement Programs.


129 CFR 1910.36(g)(2) states: An exit access must be at least 28 inches (71.1 cm) wide at all points. Where there is only one exit access leading to an exit or exit discharge, the width of the exit and exit discharge must be at least equal to the width of the exit access.

229 CFR l 910.37(a)(3) states: Exit routes must be free and unobstructed. No materials or equipment may be placed, either permanently or temporarily, within the exit route. The exit access must not go through a room that can be locked, such as a bathroom, to reach an exit or exit discharge, nor may it lead into a dead-end corridor. Stairs or a ramp must be provided where the exit route is not substantially level.