Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.27; 1910.27(d)(1)(i); 1910.27(d)(1)(ii); 1910.27(d)(5)

November 8, 2007

Mr. John T. Dooley, LLC.
The Dooley Building
5434 King Avenue @ Route 38 East
Suite 202
Pennsauken, NJ 08109-1197

Dear Mr. Dooley:

Thank you for your September 26, 2006 letter regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) enforcement policy on fixed ladders that are used at workplaces. In your letter you referenced OSHA's letter of interpretation dated May 27, 2004 regarding the required retrofit of existing fixed ladders when the landing platform, as depicted in Figure D-9 of 29 CFR 1910.27, is less than 4 feet. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence. We apologize for the delay in our response. Your paraphrased questions and our response are provided below.

Question 1: What is the enforcement policy regarding OSHA standards 1910.27(d)(1)(i) and 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) that reference Figures D-7, D-8, and D-9 contained in 1910.27?

Response 1: OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.27(d)(1)(i) provides:
Cages or wells (except on chimney ladders) shall be built, as shown on the applicable diagrams, covered in detail in figures D-7, D-8, and D-9, or of equivalent construction.
29 CFR 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) states:
Cages or well (except as provided in subparagraph (5) of this paragraph) conforming to the dimensions shown in figures D-7, D-8, and D-9 shall be provided on ladders of more than 20 feet to a maximum unbroken length of 30 feet.
29 CFR 1910.27(d)(5) states:
Ladder safety devices may be used on tower, water tank, and chimney ladders over 20 feet in unbroken length in lieu of cage protection. No landing platform is needed in these cases. All ladder safety devices such as those that incorporate lifebelts, friction brakes, and sliding attachments shall meet the design requirements of the ladders which they serve.
In response to your specific question, OSHA may issue citations to employers who are in violation of the OSHA standards including 1910.27(d)(1)(i) and 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) that reference Figures D-7, D-8, and D-9.

Question 2: Have OSHA Compliance Officers written citations or identified instances of lack of compliance, and if so, how many?

Response 2: Yes. Based on our database search, from July 1972 to August 2007, OSHA has issued 90 citations for violation of 1910.27(d)(1)(i) standard (of which 30 were serious and 60 were other than serious) and a total of 1559 citations for violation of 1910.27(d)(1)(ii) standard. Please see attachment 1. Also, please note that these numbers may not only include violations of Figure D-9, but may also include violations of Figures D-7 and D-8.

Question 3: Does OSHA have current statistics, both before and after the May 27, 2004 interpretation of fatalities or injuries associated with this standard?

Response 3: There were a total of 72 fatalities associated with the citations involving the violations of 1910.27(d)(1)(i) and 1910.27(d)(1)(ii). Please see attachment 2.

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 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