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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.23; 1910.132

July 6, 2005

Mr. Marian Podlovsky, P. E.
Fluor Canada LTD.
1075 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, B. C., Canada, V6E 4M7

Dear Mr. Podlovsky:

Thank you for your April 20, 2005, letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You are requesting clarification of fixed ramp slopes in general industry and whether ramps with a one-in-four slope would be considered an OSHA violation.

In your letter you asked the following questions:

  • Are walkways and ramps on industrial conveyor installations with a slope of one-in-four and having serrated grating surface or grip-strut surface, in violation of OSHA?

  • Is there a particular specific clause in OSHA for sloping ramps other than scaffolding?

OSHA's current general industry standards for walking and working surfaces (29 CFR 1910, Subpart D) do not include provisions concerning maximum allowable slopes. However, in a rulemaking proceeding, OSHA has proposed revisions to Subpart D that would include a new provision specifically for ramps. Under the proposal, any fixed ramp with a ramp angle greater than 20 degrees from the horizontal must be provided with handrails, and ramps exceeding 30 degrees from the horizontal would be prohibited. See proposed §1910.26 (68 Federal Register 23527 (May 2, 2003)). Neither of these provisions, if promulgated as proposed, would apply to a ramp with a one-in-four slope (14 degrees from the horizontal).

Under the facts you have described, it is also unlikely that the use of the ramps would constitute a violation of the OSH Act's General Duty Clause, which requires employers to prevent or correct recognized, serious hazards; nor is it likely that shoes with slip-resistant soles would be required under OSHA's general industry standard for personal protective equipment, 29 CFR §1910.132. However, this would depend on the actual circumstances under which a particular ramp is used.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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
www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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