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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.27

February 10, 2006

Ms. Erin Flory
Indiana Department of Labor
402 W. Washington Street, Room W195
Indianapolis, IN 46204

Dear Ms. Flory:

Thank you for your July 20, 2005, fax to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was forwarded to the Directorate of Enforcement Program's (DEP's) Office of General Industry Enforcement for response. 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 had specific questions regarding the use of ship's stairs in general industry.

The questions below have been restated for clarity.

Question 1: Are ship's ladders (also known as ship's stairs) required to meet the fixed ladder requirements in 29 CFR 1910.27?

Response: No. The standards for fixed ladders in §1910.27 do not apply to ship's stairs.

Question 2: Can ship's stairs be used in general industry?

Response: Existing §1910.27 does not address ship's stairs. However, the 1990 Proposed Rule for Subpart D, Walking and Working Surfaces, 55 Federal Register 13360, addresses this issue at proposed §1910.25, Stairs, paragraph (e)(1), which states, "Ship's stairs shall be installed at a slope between 50 degrees and 70 degrees from the horizontal." Where an employer is in compliance with the provisions of a proposed standard, it is OSHA's general policy to treat the violation of an existing requirement as a de minimis violation. Therefore, in areas where conventional industrial stairs cannot be installed due to limited space availability, then OSHA would consider the installation of fixed industrial stairs with a slope between 50 degrees to 70 degrees from the horizontal to be a de minimis violation. De minimis violations are violations of standards which have no direct or immediate relationship to safety or health, and do not result in a citation, or penalty and need not be abated.

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
http://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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