Powered by GoogleTranslate

Alert: Due to routine maintenance on the OSHA website, some pages are temporarily unavailable.
To file a complaint with OSHA or to ask a safety and health question, call 1-800-321-6742 (OSHA).

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1926.502(b); 1926.502(d)(16)

March 6, 1998

Mr. J. Nigel Ellies, President
Dynamic Scientific Controls
P.O. Box 445
Wilmington, DE 19899-0445

RE: 29 CFR 1926.20(b); 1926.21(b); 1926.500(b); 1926.502(d)

Dear Mr. Ellis:

This is in response to your letter of November 11, 1997, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) You expressed concern about body harnesses that incorporate body belts encircling the waist. You also note that some workers do not use, or remove, parts of the body harnesses.

The term "body harnesses," as defined in subpart M: Fall Protection (1926.500(b),) means "straps which may be secured about the employee in a manner that will distribute the fall arrest forces over at least the thighs, pelvis, waist, chest and shoulders with means for attaching it to other components of a personal fall arrest system." This definition does not exclude the use of a waist or chest strap as part of the full body harness as long as the harness properly distributes the fall arrest forces. Also, section 1926.502(d)(16) requires the "system" (as a whole) to limit the maximum arresting force on an employee to 1,800 pounds (8 kN.)

With regard to the improper use of the equipment, if employees are properly trained, they are less likely to misuse equipment. Sections 1926.20(b) and .21(b) require employers to train employees and ensure that equipment is used properly.

There is no evidence on the record showing that employees would be harmed in a fall while properly wearing an appropriately designed full body harness that has a waist strap encircling the body. However, the agency plans to open subpart M later this year and we encourage you to comment on this issue and submit any relevant information during the rulemaking process.

If you require any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again by writing to: Directorate of Construction - Office of Construction Standards and Compliance Assistance, Room N3621, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington D.C. 20210.

Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

Thank You for Visiting Our Website

You are exiting the Department of Labor's Web server.

The Department of Labor does not endorse, takes no responsibility for, and exercises no control over the linked organization or its views, or contents, nor does it vouch for the accuracy or accessibility of the information contained on the destination server. The Department of Labor also cannot authorize the use of copyrighted materials contained in linked Web sites. Users must request such authorization from the sponsor of the linked Web site. Thank you for visiting our site. Please click the button below to continue.