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Subchapter 7. General Industry Safety Orders
Group 1. General Physical Conditions and Structures Orders
Article 1. Definitions

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§3207. Definitions.

(a) The following terms are defined for general use in these regulations; specialized definitions appear in individual articles. (See Definitions in the Index)
Access. A means of reaching a work space of a work area.
Accessible. Within reach from a work space or work area.
Accessible Location. A location which can be reached by an employee standing on the floor, platform, runway, or other permanent working area.
Adequate. Sufficient to reduce the risk to an acceptable minimum.
Agricultural Building. A building located on agricultural property and used to shelter farm implements, hay, grain, poultry, livestock, or other farm produce, in which there is no human habitation, and which is not used by the public.
Alternating Tread Stairs. A stair on which the treads are approximately one-half the width of the stair and alternate from right to left, consecutively, for the length of the stair.
ANSI. American National Standards Institute.
Approvals. See Section 3206.
Assembly Building. A building or portion of a building:
(A) Used or intended to be used for the gathering together of 50 or more persons for such purposes of amusement, entertainment, instruction, deliberation, worship, drinking, or dining, awaiting transportation or education, or;
(B) Any building or structure or portion thereof used or intended to be used for the showing of motion pictures when an admission fee is charged and when such buildings or structure is open to the public and has a capacity of 10 or more persons.
Attic Story. Any story immediately below the roof and wholly or partly within the roof framing, designed, arranged, or built for business or storage use.
Authorized (in reference to an employee's assignment). Selected by the employer for that purpose.
Balcony, Exterior Exit. A landing or porch projecting from the wall of a building, and which serves as a required means of egress. The long side shall be at least 50 percent open, and the open area above the guardrail shall be so distributed as to prevent the accumulation of smoke or toxic gases.
Basement. That portion of a building between floor and ceiling, which is partly below and partly above grade but so located that the vertical distance from grade to the floor below is less than the vertical distance from grade to ceiling. (See “Story.”) Bite. The nip point between two in-running rolls.
Boiler, High Pressure. A boiler furnishing steam at pressures in excess of 15 pounds per square inch or hot water at temperatures in excess of 250° F, or at pressures in excess of 160 pounds per square inch.
Boiler, Low Pressure Hot Water. A boiler furnishing hot water at pressures not exceeding 160 pounds per square inch, or at temperatures of 250 degrees and below.
Boiler, Low Pressure Steam. A boiler furnishing steam at or below 15 pounds per square inch.
Boiler Room. Any room containing a steam or hot water boiler.
Bond. An electrical connection from one conductive element to another for the purpose of minimizing potential differences or providing suitable conductivity for fault current or for mitigation of leakage current and electrolytic action.
Building. Any structure as to which state agencies have regulatory power, built for support, shelter, housing or enclosure of persons, animals, chattels, equipment, or property of any kind, and also includes structures wherein things may be grown, made, produced, kept, handled, stored, or disposed of. All appendages, accessories, apparatus, appliances, and equipment installed as a part of a building or structure shall be deemed to be a part thereof, but “building” shall not include machinery, equipment, or appliances installed for manufacture or process purposes only, nor shall it include any construction installations which are not a part of a building, any tunnel, mine shaft, highway, or bridge, or include any house trailer or vehicle which conforms to the Vehicle Code.
Building, Existing. See Section 3202.
CAC. California Administrative Code.
Calendar. A machine equipped with two or more metal rolls revolving in opposite directions and used for continuously sheeting or plying up rubber and plastics compounds and for frictioning or coating materials with rubber and plastics compounds.
Catwalk (Maintenance Runway). Narrow elevated level or inclined walkway not intended as a routine passageway, but normally used as access for special purposes such as light maintenance, adjustment, inspection, or observation.
Cellar. That portion of a building between floor and ceiling which is wholly or partly below grade and so located that the vertical distance from grade to the floor below is equal to or greater than the vertical distance from grade to ceiling. (See “Story.”)
Certified Safety Professional or CSP. A safety professional who has met education and experience standards, has demonstrated by examination the knowledge that applies to professional safety practice, continues to meet recertification requirements established by the Board of Certified Safety Professionals (BCSP), and is authorized by BCSP to use the Certified Safety Professional designation.
Competent Person. One who is capable of identifying existing and predictable hazards in the surroundings or working conditions which are unsanitary, hazardous, or dangerous to employees, and who has authorization to take prompt corrective measures to eliminate them.
Court. An open, uncovered and unoccupied space, unobstructed to the sky, bounded on three or more sides by exterior building walls.
Court (enclosed). A court bounded on all sides by the exterior walls of a building or exterior walls and lot lines on which walls are allowable.
Crossover. A means to allow employees to pass over or cross a horizontal belted or live roller conveyor without the employee's feet coming into contact with moving or movable elements of the conveyor. Such means shall include, but are not limited to, catwalks as specified in Section 3273 of these Orders, non-continuous, slip resistant (e.g. raised diamond-studded) metal “stepping stones” (e.g. “walking pads”), or replacing conveyor rollers with continuous parallel metal strip walking surfaces (“crosswalks”).
Dead Load. The dead load of a building shall include the weight of the walls, permanent partitions, framing, floors, roofs, and all other permanent stationary construction entering into and becoming a part of a building.
Division. The Division of Occupational Safety and Health.
Dockboard (Dock Plate). A portable or fixed device for spanning the gap or compensating for difference in level between loading platforms and carriers.
(A) Automatic-Closing Doors are those which are normally open but will close at the time of fire. A door may be made automatic closing by the installation of a closing device and a separate, labeled, fail-safe door-holder/release device or a hold-open mechanism which may be an integral part of the basic closing device, provided the hold-open mechanism is released by one or a combination of automatic fire detectors acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.
(B) Power-Operated Fire Doors are those which are normally opened and closed by power. They shall be equipped with a releasing device which will automatically disconnect the power operator at the time of fire, allowing a self-closing or automatic device to close the door irrespective of power failure or manual operation.
(C) Self-Closing Doors are those which, when opened, return to the closed position. The door shall swing easily and freely and shall be equipped with a closing device to cause the door to close and latch each time it is opened. The closing mechanism shall not have a hold-open feature.
Emergency Action Plan. A plan for a workplace, or parts thereof, describing what procedures the employer and employees must take to ensure employee safety from fire or other emergencies.
Emergency Escape Route. The route that employees are directed to follow in the event they are required to evacuate the workplace or seek a designated refuge area.
Equivalent. An alternate design, feature, device, or protective action which provides an equal degree of safety.
Exit. A continuous and unobstructed means of egress to a public way, and shall include intervening doors, doorways, corridors, exterior exit balconies, ramps, stairways, smokeproof enclosures, horizontal exits, exit passageways, exit courts, and yards.
Exit Passageway. An enclosed means of egress connecting a required exit or exit court with a public way.
Fire Wall. A fire wall may be broadly defined as a wall erected to prevent the spread of fire. To be effective, fire walls must have sufficient fire resistance to withstand the effects of the most severe fire that may be expected to occur in the building and must provide a complete barrier to the spread of fire. Any openings in a fire wall must be suitably protected.
Floor Area. The area included within the surrounding exterior walls of a building or portion thereof, exclusive of vent shafts and courts. The floor area of a building, or portion thereof, not provided with surrounding exterior walls shall be the usable area under the horizontal projection of the roof or floor above.
Floor Hole. Any opening in a floor or platform which is smaller than a floor opening.
Floor Opening. An opening in any floor or platform, 12 inches or more in the least horizontal dimension. It includes stairway floor openings, ladderway floor openings, hatchways, and chute floor openings.
Flume. An elevated artificial channel or trough for conducting water.
Water flumes may be constructed of wood, metal or concrete or combination of the preceding. They may be either open on top or partially covered by rigid members (caps) laid across the flume perpendicular to the water flow.
Flume Patrol. The on-site assessment/inspection of a flume's physical condition, and/or structural integrity conducted by a qualified person.
The qualified person may inspect the flume or portions thereof from ground level, and/or from an elevated catwalk/walkway located above or along the flume.
Frequent. For the purpose of these orders frequent shall mean more than twelve times each year unless specifically stated otherwise in individual orders.
Fumigant. A substance or mixture of substances, used to kill pests or prevent infestation, which is a gas or is rapidly or progressively transformed to the gaseous state, even though some nongaseous or particulate matter may remain and be dispersed in the treatment space.
Gantry Truck. An automotive vehicle so designed and constructed that it straddles the load to be transported, and by means of appropriate mechanisms, picks up the load and supports it during transportation.
Grade (Adjacent Ground Elevation). The lowest point of elevation of the finished surface of the ground, paving or sidewalk, within the area between the building and the property line, or when the property line is more than 5 feet from the building, between the building and a line 5 feet from the building.
Grounded, Effectively. Intentionally connected to earth through a ground connection or connections of sufficiently low impedance and having sufficient current-carrying capacity to prevent the build-up of voltages which may result in undue hazard to connected equipment or persons.
Guardrail. A vertical barrier erected along the open edges of a floor opening, wall opening, ramp, platform, runway, or other elevated area to prevent falls of persons.
Handrail. A device to be used as a handhold.
Hazard, Extra. Areas where the amount of combustibles or flammable liquids present is such that fires of severe magnitude may be expected.
These may include woodworking, auto repair, aircraft servicing, warehouses with high-piled (over 15 feet in solid piles, over 12 feet in piles that contain horizontal channels) combustibles and processes such as flammable liquid handling, painting, dipping, etc.
Hazard, High. Areas where the contents are classified as liable to burn with extreme rapidity or from which poisonous fumes or explosions are to be feared in the event of fire.
Hazard, Light. Areas where the amount of combustibles or flammable liquids present is such that fires of small size may be expected. These may include offices, schoolrooms, churches, assembly halls, telephone exchanges, etc.
Hazard, Low. Areas where the contents are classified as being of such low combustibility that no self propagating fire therein can occur and that consequently the only probable danger requiring the use of emergency exits will be from panic, fumes, or smoke, or fire from some external source.
Hazard, Ordinary. Where the amount of combustibles or flammable liquids present is such that fires of moderate size may be expected. These may include mercantile storage and display, auto showrooms, parking garages, light manufacturing, warehouses not classified as extra hazard, school shop areas, etc.
Hazardous Substance. One which by reason of being explosive, flammable, toxic, poisonous, corrosive, oxidizing, irritant, or otherwise harmful is likely to cause injury.
Horizontal Exit. A way of passage from one building to an area of refuge in another building on approximately the same level, or a way of passage through or around a wall or partition to an area of refuge on approximately the same level in the same building, which affords safety from fire or smoke from the area of escape and areas communicating therewith.
Inaccessible Location. A location to which access is provided only by portable ladders or other portable temporary means.
Industrial Stairs. A series of steps leading from one level or floor to another, or leading to platforms, pits, boiler rooms, crossovers, or around machinery, tanks, and other equipment. A series of steps and landings having three or more risers constitutes an industrial stair or stairway.
Installation. An entire plant with all its accessories or any machine, tool, equipment, process, apparatus, subject or item covered under these orders.
Institutional Occupancy. The occupancy or use of a building or structure or any portion thereof by persons harbored or detained to receive medical, charitable or other care or treatment, or by persons involuntarily detained.
Landing. An extended step or platform breaking a continuous run of steps or ramps.
Listed. See Section 3206, Approvals.
Live Load. The live load includes all loads except dead and lateral loads.
Loading Ramp. A readily moveable or portable surface of fixed or adjustable slope designed to facilitate transfer of cargo or materials handling equipment to bridge the space between a vehicle and a receiving level or area.
Mercantile Occupancy. The occupancy or use of a building or structure or any portion thereof for the displaying, selling or buying of goods, wares, or merchandise.
Mezzanine or Mezzanine Floor. An intermediate floor placed in any story or room. When the total area of any such “Mezzanine Floor” exceeds 33 ⅓ percent of the total floor area in that room, it shall be considered as constituting an additional “Story.” The clear height above or below a “Mezzanine Floor” construction shall be not less than 7 feet.
Microtome. A device that cuts extremely thin slices of material for microscopic study. Microtomes include hand-powered (manual), semi-automatic and automatic units. This equipment also may be called a “histotome” or “cryostat”.
Mill. A machine consisting of two adjacent metal rolls, set horizontally, which revolve in opposite directions (i.e., toward each other as viewed from above) used for the mechanical working of rubber and plastics compounds.
Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). A laboratory which has been recognized by the Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) as meeting the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.7.
New Installation.
(A) An installation made after these Orders become effective.
(B) An existing fixed installation materially altered or otherwise materially changed after the date these Orders become effective. Materially altered or materially changed as used above does not mean the replacement of parts, maintenance, or the installation of devices designed to decrease the hazard of installation.
Noncombustible as applied to building construction material means a material which, in the form in which it is used, is either one of the following:
1. Material of which no part will ignite and burn when subjected to fire. Any material conforming to U.B.C. Standard No. 4-1 shall be considered noncombustible within the meaning of this section.
2. Material having a structural base of noncombustible material as defined in Item No. 1 above, with a surfacing material not over ⅛ inch thick which has a flame-spread rating of 50 or less.
“Noncombustible” does not apply to surface finish materials. Material required to be noncombustible for reduced clearances to flues, heating appliances or other sources of high temperature shall refer to material conforming to Item No. 1. No material shall be classed as noncombustible which is subject to increase in combustibility or flame-spread rating, beyond the limits herein established, through the effects of age, moisture or other atmospheric condition. Flame-spread rating as used herein refers to rating obtained according to tests conducted as specified in U.B.C. Standard No. 42-1.
Nose, Nosing. That portion of a tread projecting beyond the face of the riser immediately below.
Occupancy. The purpose for which a building is used or intended to be used. The term shall also include the building or room housing such use. Change of occupancy is not intended to include change of tenants or proprietors.
Office Occupancy. The occupancy or use of a building or structure or any portion thereof for the transaction of business, or the rendering or receiving of professional services.
Occupant Load. The total number of persons that may occupy a building or portion thereof at any one time.
Open Riser. The air space between the treads of stairways without upright members (risers).
Panic Hardware. A bar which extends not less than one-half the width of each door leaf, not less than 30 nor more than 44 inches above the floor, which will unlatch the door when a force to the bar not to exceed 15 pounds is applied in the direction of exit travel.
Personal Fall Arrest System. A system used to arrest an employee in a fall from a working level. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, body harness and may include a lanyard, deceleration device, lifeline, or suitable combinations of the aforementioned components/devices.
Personal Fall Protection System. A personal fall protection system includes personal fall arrest systems, positioning device systems, fall restraint systems, safety nets and guardrails.
Personal Fall Restraint System. A system used to prevent an employee from falling. It consists of an anchorage, connectors, and body belt/harness. It may include, lanyards, lifelines, and rope grabs designed for that purpose.
Platform. An elevated working level for persons. Storage platforms, balconies and open-sided floors are considered platforms for the purpose of these orders.
Positioning Device System. A body belt or body harness system rigged to allow an employee to be supported on an elevated surface, such as a wall, and work with both hands free while leaning.
Private Stairway. A stairway serving one tenant only.
Public Way. Any parcel of land unobstructed from the ground to the sky, more than 10 feet in width, appropriated to the free passage of the general public.
Pyroxylin Plastic. Any plastic substance, material, compound, other than nitro-cellulose film, having soluble cotton or similar nitro-cellulose as a base, including celluloid, fiber-loid, pyralin, viscoloid, zylonite and similar products, materials and compounds by whatever name known, when in the form of blocks, slabs, sheets, tubes or fabricated shapes.
Qualified Person, Attendant or Operator. A person designated by the employer who by reason of their training and experience has demonstrated their ability to safely perform their duties and, where required, is properly licensed in accordance with federal, state, or local laws and regulations.
Ramp. Inclined passageway connecting two levels and usually used for pedestrian traffic; does not include catwalks or stairs.
Ramp, Industrial. Permanently installed inclined passageway connecting two levels and designed primarily for industrial trucks; does not include portable ramps, dockboards, dock levelers, or catwalks.
Required Exit. A means of egress required by these orders.
Rise. The vertical distance from the top of a tread to the top of the next higher tread.
Riser. The upright member of a step situated at the back of a lower tread and near the leading edge of the next higher tread.
Rope Access. The use of rope access equipment where ropes are used as the primary means of support, as a means of protection or positioning, and where an employee descends or ascends on a rope, or traverses along a rope.
Rope Access Equipment. Specialized equipment approved for use with rope access techniques to suspend, support, position or protect an employee.
Runway. An elevated passageway. Runways are sometimes referred to as catwalks, footwalks, elevated walkways, oilers' platforms or maintenance runways.
Shall. A mandatory requirement.
Shear Point. The immediate area where two or more machine elements pass in close contact, creating a shearing action hazardous to employees. The elements may be in any form of motion, or one may be at rest.
Ship Stair (Ships Ladder). A fixed ladder within the pitch range of 50 to 75 degrees with the horizontal, equipped with treads and stair rails.
Should. A recommendation.
Skirt Guard. In relation to vertical closing shear hazards a vertical member which prohibits entry of human body parts within the vertical plane of the shear zone.
Spiral stairway (Circular Stairway.) One with closed circular form, uniform sector-shaped treads and a supporting column.
Stair Railing. A vertical barrier constructed along the open side or sides of stairways and as intermediate stair rails where required on wide stairways.
Stairway. Two or more risers shall constitute a stairway.
Storage Access Aisle. An aisle, from which pedestrian traffic is excluded during truck operation, designed for the passage of a single industrial truck.
Story. That portion of a building included between the upper surface of any floor and the upper surface of the floor next above, except that the topmost story shall be that portion of a building included between the upper surface of the topmost floor and the ceiling or roof above. If the finished floor level directly above a basement, cellar or unused underfloor space is more than 6 feet above grade as defined herein for more than 50 percent of the total perimeter or is more than 12 feet above grade as defined herein at any point, such basement, cellar or unused underfloor space shall be considered as a story.
Structure. That which is built or constructed, an edifice or building of any kind, or any piece of work artificially built up or composed of parts joined together in some definite manner.
Suitable. Capable of performing with safety the particular function specified in these regulation.
Toeboard. A vertical barrier erected along the open edges of floor openings or floor holes, platforms, and runways.
Toe Plate (deflector type). In relation to vertical closing shear hazards a smooth metal plate not less than 8 inches wide and not less than 11 gauge thickness, attached flush with the vertical edge of the upper member of the shear, slanted downward and inward at an angle of approximately 30 degrees from the vertical.
Traffic Aisle. An aisle used by industrial vehicles and pedestrians during normal operations.
Tread. The horizontal member of a step.
Tread Depth. The horizontal distance from front to back of tread including nosing when used.
Tread Run. The horizontal distance from the leading edge of a tread to the leading edge of an adjacent tread.
Wall Opening. An opening in a wall or partition not provided with glazed sash, having a height of at least 30 inches and a width of at least 18 inches, through which a person might fall to a level 30 inches or more below.
Water Heater. An appliance intended to provide hot water for domestic purposes and complying with all of the following:
(A) The heater does not have more than 120-gallon capacity.
(B) The heater is used only for heating service water.
(C) The operating control on all automatically controlled heaters is installed by the manufacturer and is of a type that cannot be regulated to increase the water temperature at the top of the heater to more than 200° F.
(D) A non-adjustable control is installed on all automatically controlled heaters by the manufacturer and set to shut off the heat input when the temperature at the top of the heater is 210° F or less. This control and the necessary fuel valve, switch, etc., shall be separate from the operating mechanisms required in (C) above.
(E) The heater is protected against over-pressure with an ASME or AGA rated relief valve set to open at not more than the maximum allowable working pressure of the heater and having a relieving capacity in BTU/hr at least equal to the burner output.
Working Level or Working Area. A platform, walkway, runway, floor or similar area fixed with reference to the hazard and used by employees in the course of their employment. This does not include ladders or portable or temporary means used for access, repair or maintenance, provided such means are removed immediately upon completion of the work.
Yard. An open, unoccupied space, other than a court, unobstructed from the ground to the sky.
Yard Hole. An opening in a yard or pavement smaller than a yard opening.
Yard Opening. An opening in a yard or pavement, 12 inches or more in the least horizontal dimension.


Note: Authority cited: Section 142.3, Labor Code. Reference: Section 142.3, Labor Code.
1. Amendment of subsection (a) filed 6-3-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 23). For prior history, see Register 84, No. 50.
2. Amendment filed 9-24-85; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 85, No. 39).
3. Amendment filed 4-25-86; effective thirtieth day thereafter (Register 86, No. 17).
4. Amendment filed 2-15-90; operative 3-17-90 (Register 90, No. 8).
5. New definitions added in alphabetical order to subsection (a) for “Flume” and “Flume Patrol” and amendment of Note filed 6-7-96; operative 7-7-96 (Register 96, No. 23).
6. Amendment adding new definitions for “Personal Fall Arrest System,” “Personal Fall Protection System,” “Personal Fall Restraint System” and “Positioning Device System” filed 10-4-99; operative 11-3-99 (Register 99, No. 41).
7. Amendment adding new definition for “Crossover” filed 2-17-2000; operative 3-18-2000 (Register 2000, No. 7).
8. New definitions of “Rope Access” and “Rope Access Equipment” filed 8-4-2000; operative 9-3-2000 (Register 2000, No. 31).
9. Change without regulatory effect amending section and Note filed 3-17-2011 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2011, No. 11).
10. New definition of “Certified Safety Professional or CSP” filed 8-29-2011; operative 9-28-2011 (Register 2011, No. 35).
11. New definition of “Microtome” filed 8-7-2012; operative 9-6-2012 (Register 2012, No. 32).
12. New definition of “Competent Person” filed 4-12-2016; operative 7-1-2016 (Register 2016, No. 16).
13. New definition of “Competent Person” and amendment of definition of “Qualified Person, Attendant or Operator” filed 7-26-2022; operative 7-26-2022 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2022, No. 30). Filing deadline specified in Government Code section 11349.3(a) extended 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-40-20 and an additional 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-71-20.

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