Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1926.500; 1926.501(b)(1); 1926.501(b)(4); 1926.32(f)

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

August 14, 2000

Mr. Reed Taylor, Safety Director
Taylor Bros. Construction Co. Inc.
4555 Middle Road
P.O. Box 248
Columbus, Indiana 47202-0248

Re: Subpart M, 1926.500, 1926.501(b)(1), 1926.501(b)(4), 1926.32(f)

Dear Mr. Taylor:

This is in response to your December 1, 1999 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in which you ask for a clarification of OSHA's fall protection requirements. We apologize for the delay in providing this response.

You specifically ask what constitutes a "hole" verses an "unprotected side or edge" when there is a change in elevation. Your blueprint depicts a high school band rehearsal room consisting of a series of platform/steps with varying radii (14 feet, 22 feet, 30 feet). These theater-type platform/steps extend about 50 feet from one side of the room to the other, are about 8 feet wide and have uniform riser