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.

September 24, 1990

Ms. Page L. Bellinger Manager
Product Safety
Engineering standards
Deere & Company
John Deere Road
Moline, Illinois 61265-8098

Dear Ms. Bellinger:

Thank you for your letter of June 25, regarding the new Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and American Society of Agricultural Engineers (ASAE) standards for Rollover Protective Structures (ROPS), SAE J2194 and ASAE S519 respectively.

We are aware that safety standards can introduce problems which could reduce the competitive posture of manufacturers. For that reason, OSHA standards should be compatible with foreign requirements to the greatest extent possible. Therefore, we recognize and accept compliance with foreign requirements which equal or exceed ours as an alternative to an applicable OSHA standard.

In this instance, the SAE and ASAE appear to have modified the ROPS requirements to be compatible with the various foreign standards. If in so doing, the SAE and ASAE have not compromised or weakened the protection of the SAE and ASAE standards which were previously adopted by OSHA, equivalent or improved safety to employees would result. Therefore, if the modifications of the SAE and ASAE requirements have strengthened the requirements for ROPS, OSHA would encourage the use of the new SAE J2194 and ASAE S519 and would permit their use as providing equal or greater employee protection as that provided by OSHA standards.

Unfortunately, due to the detailed analysis required to ascertain the actual differences between the standards, such a comparative analysis is very time consuming. During the lengthy development of the standards, SAE and ASAE may have already established these comparisons; if the SAE J2194 and ASAE S519 committees would provide our technical staff with such comparative data, it would greatly speed our deliberations. Comparative data should be provided to:

    Patricia K. Clark 
    Director Designate 
    Directorate of Compliance Programs
    U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
    200 Constitution Ave. N.W.,
    Rm. N3469 
    Washington, D.C.  20210

Our staff anticipates a response from the SAE J2194 and ASAE S519 committees, and will resolve this issue at the earliest time possible.


Gerard F. Scannell
Assistant Secretary