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.

July 24, 1992

Richard L. Lambert, P.E., CSP
Product Safety Coordinator
The Charles/Machine Works, Inc.
P.O. Box 66
Perry, Oklahoma 73077-0066

Dear Mr. Lambert:

This is in response to your June 12 letter requesting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) reconsider its interpretation of ROPS requirements addressing industrial tractors with backhoe attachments. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

OSHA recognizes the advantages of being able to move a tractor from the backhoe operator's station. However, when the tractor is moved from one location to another, irrespective of the speed of travel, the operator is exposed to the hazards associated with tipping and rollover of the equipment. The information enclosed in you letter does not address the hazards introduced by the movement of the equipment and therefore, OSHA cannot justify a change of the earlier interpretation that a ROPS is necessary to protect the operator of a tractor when the equipment is being moved.

In regard to your statement that paragraphs 29 CFR 1926.602(a) and (b) show that ROPS are not required on attachment type equipment, please be advised that these provisions do not negate the clearly stated requirement of paragraph 29 CFR 1926.1000 which was promulgated at a later date. That paragraph states, in relevant part, that ROPS are required on "... wheel-type agricultural and industrial tractors, crawler tractors,..., with or without attachments, that are used in construction work" (emphasis added). This requirement is clearly intended to provide the operator of a moving piece of equipment with protection against the hazards of rollover regardless of where the point of operation is located. As stated in paragraph 29 CFR 1926.1000(c)(2)(i), "The design objective shall be to minimize the likelihood of a complete overturn and thereby minimize the possibility of the operator being crushed as a result of a rollover or upset." However, please note, these provisions do not require a separate ROPS for each operator seat if it can be shown that each seat is protected by a ROPS located somewhere on the equipment.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Mr. Roy F. Gurnham or Mr. Dale R. Cavanaugh of my staff in the Office of Construction and Maritime Compliance Assistance at (202) 523-8136.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs