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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 4. Access, Work Space, and Work Areas

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§ 3273. Working Area.

(a) Permanent floors and platforms shall be free of dangerous projections or obstructions, maintained in good repair, and reasonably free of oil, grease, or water. Where the type of operation necessitates working on slippery floors, such surfaces shall be protected against slipping by using mats, grates, cleats, or other methods which provide equivalent protection. Where wet processes are used drainage shall be maintained and false floors, platforms, mats, or other dry standing places provided.
(b) Permanent roadways, walkways, and material storage areas in yards shall be maintained free of dangerous depressions, obstructions, and debris.
(c) Platforms, runways, ramps, or other elevated working levels, except catwalks, that are 30 inches or more above the floor, ground, or other working area shall be no less than 2 feet wide and have no less than 6 1/2 feet clear headroom. In existing installations where an overhead hazard exists due to clearances of less than 6 1/2 feet above ramps, runways, platforms, or other elevated work areas, such work area shall be relocated and the obstruction removed. If these procedures are impracticable, a suitable warning shall be placed near the obstruction to notify employees of its presence. Where the nature of the hazard is such that padding will increase safety, it shall be installed.
(d) Catwalks shall be no less than 18 inches wide and have 6 1/2 feet clear headroom. When installed along inclined conveyors, crane booms, etc., where because of structural or load conditions it is unreasonable to comply with basic ramp standards, catwalks may have a slope exceeding 18 degrees.
1. When required location dictates, a catwalk may have less overhead clearance if a warning and padding are provided as in (c).
2. In bowling alleys at pin-spotting and pin-setting machines, catwalks shall be no less than nominal 8 inches wide and provided with an adequate handrail if the sides are not protected by another structure.
3. In unfinished attics and other ceiling spaces where access is not routine and of a short duration, a catwalk shall not be required if 1) there are ceiling joists or similar structural members at 2 feet or closer centers, 2) planks or solid platforms at least 12 inches in width are provided and supported by at least two ceiling joists or similar structural members, 3) a qualified person has determined that the ceiling structure and any planks or platforms used can bear all intended loads and 4) employees are supported by the planks or platforms at all times when in the attic or ceiling space.
(e) Protection from falling objects:
(1) Where there is employee exposure below an elevated work area, one or more of the following safeguards shall be implemented:
(A) Provide toeboards, screens, or guardrail systems in accordance with Article 2 of these Orders to prevent objects from falling from higher levels; or,
(B) Provide a canopy structure to protect employees from falling objects; or,
(C) Provide a physical barrier such as, but not limited to, fencing, barricades or other equivalent means or methods, to prevent entry into the area to which objects could fall.
(2) Where the type of process or operation, exclusive of repair and maintenance, is such that there are hazards to employees from materials falling through platform or runway openings, the openings shall be limited to a size that prevents materials falling through the openings.
(3) Where platform or runway gratings are used as work areas during repair or maintenance, there shall be provided at such areas suitable safeguards to prevent tools or materials falling on employees below. Such safeguards may be netting suspended below the work area, canvas, planking on the surface of the grating, or barricaded or sheltered areas below the work area.
(f) Lowering objects:
(1) Where there is employee exposure below an elevated work area, all objects, including materials, equipment and tools shall be lowered in a controlled manner, such as but not limited to using enclosed chutes, material handling equipment, or hand lines; or,
(2) When controlled lowering is not practical, or would subject employees to a greater risk of injury, protection from falling objects shall be provided by the use of effective physical barriers, such as but not limited to canopies, fencing, barricades, or barrier tape when the barrier tape is attended by a spotter who is authorized to effectively restrict entry into the area and who is on the same level as the area of the exposure, or other equivalent means or methods.
(A) Signs in accordance with Section 3340 shall be posted at the perimeter of the affected work area to warn employees of the hazard.
(g) Where it is necessary to lubricate or adjust prime movers, machines, or equipment, which extends below the floor line, sufficient work space shall be provided for the safe performance of the work.
(h) Permanently installed prime movers, machines, and equipment shall be located and guarded so that transported material does not strike either the moving parts of machines or the employees at their operating positions.
(i) Machines or equipment shall be located and guarded so that the product, waste stock, or material being worked or processed does not endanger employees.
(j) Where machinery or equipment is installed in a pit and there are shear hazards between the pit edges and parts of the machine or equipment, skirt guards shall be installed to remove such hazards, or such other device used to provide equivalent protection.
(k) Every shop transfer car and equipment carriage operating on rails, together with their loads, shall clear stationary machines, equipment, structures, or piled or stacked material, by at least 24 inches.
(l) Ditches, pits, excavations and surfaces in poor repair shall be guarded by readily visible barricades, rails or other equally effective means.
(m) Existing installations having impaired clearances shall be well posted to indicate the hazards due to such impaired clearance, and shall be guarded by guardrails, barricades, or other means.
1. Inaccessible monorails, conveyors, and similar equipment operating on rails.
2. Transfer cars or carriages where the process is such that a minimum of clearance is necessary for safe operations.
Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. Amendment of subsections (a), (b) and (c) filed 2-18-75; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 75, No. 7).
2. Amendment filed 7-16-76; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 76, No. 29).
3. Amendment filed 4-27-79; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 79, No. 17).
4. Amendment of subsection (j) filed 7-19-79; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 79, No. 29).
5. New subsection (l) filed 12-12-84; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 84, No. 50).
6. Amendment filed 2-26-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 9).
7. New subsections (e)-(e)(1)(C) and (f)-(f)(2)(A) and redesignation of former subsections (e)-(f) as subsections (e)(2)-(3) filed 8-26-2003; operative 9-25-2003 (Register 2003, No. 35).
8. Amendment of subsections (a), (c) and (d), including new exception 3., and amendment of Note filed 12-5-2016; operative 4-1-2017 (Register 2016, No. 50).

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