April 23, 1973
OSHA - ARA's Federal/State Operations - Technical Support
1926.500, Guardrails, handrails & guards
TO: ALL AREA DIRECTORS
Paragraph 1926.500(f)(l)(vi) provides for the utilization of
types, sizes and arrangements of railing construction provided they meet the
conditions established in sub-paragraph a thru d.
In construction the use of cables or chains to guard door and
wall openings is common practice; however, unless these chains or cables are
of sufficient size and strength to support the loads which might be imposed,
they imply a security which is not present.
Since cables or chains are commonly used as barriers or guards
on construction projects at floor and wall openings and to establish
uniformity in this Region, the following criteria will govern the use of
cable and chain as guards.
- Cable shall be not less than 3/8 inch mild plow
- Chain shall be not less than 1/4 inch alloy steal.
- The chain or cable shall be anchored at intervals not
to exceed 100 feet. These anchors shall be of sufficient strength to support
the imposed loads without deflection.
- The chain or cable shall be provided with positive
tensioning device (such as a turnbuckle) which will reduce the sag in the
chain or cable to not more than 2 inches in a 20 foot
- Intermediate supports shall be installed in such a
manner that they will provide the strength and spacing outlined for Posts in
1926.500(f)(l)(i), (ii) & (iii).
- The tensioning device shall have a breaking strength of
not less than 10,000 pounds.
- The chain or cable shall be equipped with flagging or
some other means of increasing their visibility.
Chain or cable may be used as immediate rails when
installed to the above criteria.
- Toeboards shall be 4 inches minimum in vertical height
and of any material which will provide the strength equivalent to a Standard
Southern Pine 1 inch by 4 inch board. These toeboards shall be secured in
place as required by the Standards.
R. A. WENDELL
Assistant Regional Administrator
for Federal/State Programs.