OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at https://www.osha.gov.

January 21, 1987

  Regional Administrator
FROM: JOHN B. MILES, JR., Director
  Directorate of Field Operations
SUBJECT: Interpretation of 29 CFR 1926.602(a)(9)(ii)

This is in reply to your memorandum (ARA/TS STD 3-13) requesting a written interpretation of the term "obstructed view to the rear" relative to use of back-up alarms of earthmoving and compacting equipment.

A simple interpretation would be "anything" that would "blockout" (interfere) with the overall view of the operator of the vehicle to the rear of the vehicle, at ground level.

"Obstructed view to the rear" could include such obstacles as any part of the vehicle such as structural members, its load (gravel, dirt, rip-rap), its height relative to ground level viewing, damage to windows or side mirrors, etc. used for rearview movement of the vehicle; in addition, it could include restricted visibility due to weather conditions such as heavy fog; or work being done after dark, without proper lighting.