OSHA Basics: Vertical and Horizontal Standards

Here’s another one of our OSHA Basics series of articles.

In this one, we’re going to explain what a “vertical” standard is and what a “horizontal” standard is.

If that catches your attention or piques your curiosity, read on!

Vertical and Horizontal Standards

Most OSHA standards are horizontal standards. That means they apply to all employers in any industry.

Some OSHA standards, however, are vertical standards. This means they apply to just a specific industry.

Horizontal Standards

Horizontal standards are the OSHA standards that apply to most workplaces.

Examples of horizontal standards include:

Vertical Standards

Vertical standards apply to specific industries or to particular operations, practices, conditions, processes, means, methods, equipment, or installations.

Examples of OSHA vertical standards include:

When OSHA has a vertical standard that applies to a particular industry (or employer in that industry), then that standard takes precedence over any horizontal standard.

Conclusion: OSHA’s Vertical and Horizontal Standards

If you found this “OSHA Basics” article on OSHA’s vertical and horizontal standards helpful, you may also want to check out some of the following articles:

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Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto

Jeffrey Dalto is an Instructional Designer and the Senior Learning & Development Specialist at Convergence Training. He's worked in training/learning & development for 25 years, in safety and safety training for more than 10, is an OSHA Authorized Outreach Trainer for General Industry OSHA 10 and 30, has completed a General Industry Safety and Health Specialist Certificate from the University of Washington/Pacific Northwest OSHA Education Center and an Instructional Design certification from the Association of Talent Development (ATD), and is a member of the committee creating the upcoming ANSI/ASSP Z490.2 national standard on online environmental, health, and safety training. Jeff frequently writes for magazines related to safety, safety training, and training and frequently speaks at conferences on the same issues, including the Washington Governor's Safety and Health Conference, the Oregon Governor's Occupational Safety and Health Conference, the Wisconsin Safety Conference, the MSHA Training Resources Applied to Mining (TRAM) Conference, and others.

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