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Fall protection for the entertainment industry under the OSH Act of 1970.

The following information is copied directly from OSHA. It has been included here in it's entirety to appear in our search. The information is available at

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

January 28, 1997

Mr. Mark W. DeLawyer
Secretary and Senior Rigger
International Alliance of Theatrical
Stage Employees Local No.9
P.O. Box 617
Syracuse, New York 13201-0617

Dear Mr. DeLawyer:

This is in further response to your letter of November 7, to Mr. James Foster, former Director of the Office of Information & Consumer Affairs, concerning fall protection for the entertainment industry under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970.

You are correct in stating that 29 CFR Part 1910 applies to general industry and Part 1926 applies to construction. The new fall protection regulations, which you reference, were published August 9, 1994 in the Federal Register, Vol.59, No.152, p.40672, (copy enclosed) and apply to construction since they concern Subpart M of 1926. Enclosed also is a copy of the August 30, 1996 Federal Register, Vol.61. No.170, p.46026, on safety standards for scaffolds in the construction industry.

OSHA does not have any industry specific standards for the entertainment industry. Generally the entertainment industry would be covered under the general industry standards, although there may be some construction jobs that would be required to follow the construction standards. Standards in Part 1926 also apply to construction activities at non-construction sites. See 1910.12(b) for definition of “construction work.”

You also asked what regulations apply to the riggers, truss spot operators and others in theater who regularly work at heights at the 75′ to 150′ range, and whether a climbing belt “Swiss seat” that is used as a positioning device can no longer be used as a fall protection device. As a rigger, using a climbing belt “Swiss seat” as a positioning device may be permissible, but as you correctly assume, you can not use it as a fall protection device. The climbing belt “Swiss seat” should at least meet the proposed requirements for positioning device systems in section 1910.130 of the April 10, 1990, Federal Register Notice of Proposed Rulemaking. A copy is enclosed for your information. A full body harness would be an appropriate fall protection device for working at 75′ to 150′. As to who would be responsible for providing the full body harness, see enclosed memorandum dated October 18, 1994 regarding the employer’s obligation to pay for personal protective equipment.

[This document has been edited on 8/9/2002 to strike information that no longer reflects current OSHA policy.]

OSHA is concerned with the safety and health of all workers in the entertainment industry. Although OSHA recognizes it is not appropriate to put guardrails at the edge of stages, theatrical employees need to be protected from all occupational safety and health hazards. The fall protection standards for general industry (found in Subpart D of 29 CFR at 1910.21 through 1910.32) as well as the personal protective equipment standards (found in Subpart I of 29 CFR at 1910.132 through 1910.138) are the appropriate standards for your situation.

If you have specific questions concerning the standards at 1910 Subpart D, you may contact the OSHA area office at 3300 Vickery Road, North Syracuse, New York 13212, telephone (315) 451-0808. If you have questions regarding the proposed standard at 1910.130, call [the Directorate of Standards and Guidance at (202) 693-2222]. If you have any other questions, call [the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850].

A copy of the general industry standards at 29 CFR 1910 is being sent to you in two padded envelopes.


Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
[Office of General Industry Enforcement]

[Corrected 6/2/2005]

NOTE: This information is available directly from OSHA at

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