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OSHA application?

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Does OSHA apply to circular openings for access to rungs in a manhole which
is normally wet? Normal OSHA requirements for openings for access to fixed
ladders would require a minimum 36-inch clear opening (without a "deflector
shield"). But I frequently see manhole details which show circular access
openings less than 36-inches in diameter (e.g. 24" or 30" manhole covers).
Do these openings violate OSHA or does OSHA not apply here? (If not, what
"code or regulation" does apply?) 

William C. Sherman
Camp Dresser & McKee, Inc.
Denver, CO
Phone: 303-298-1311
Fax: 303-293-8236
email: shermanwc(--nospam--at)