The letter from Jeffrey B. Sodoma about safety conditions shown in a photo within ENR’s Year in Construction photo essay reflect how out of date OSHA regulations are. OSHA can only enforce the regulations that are in the applicable 29 CFR 1926 or 1910 standards. OSHA can enforce only laws that are written and/or interpreted by the legal system.
Mr. Sodoma’s observation about the photograph showing individuals standing at the edge of a deep excavation is an example of how OSHA is behind the times in safety. The only section in 29 CFR 1926 Subpart P (Construction Safety Orders Excavation section) that deals with fall protection is 1926.651(l), which states, "Walkways shall be provided where employees or equipment are required or permitted to cross over excavations. Guardrails which comply with 1926.502(b) shall be provided where walkways are 6 feet or more above lower levels."