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.

May 23, 1994

The Honorable Robert L. Livingston
U.S. House of Representatives
300 E. Thomas
Hammond, Louisiana 70401

Dear Congressman Livingston:

Thank you for your letter dated March 24, on behalf of your constituent, Jimmy Harrell, regarding Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) physical qualification requirements for equipment operators. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

Please be advised that OSHA does not enforce any standards that would cause Mr. Harrell to be disqualified from employment as an operating engineer due to poor eyesight. Although the congress required that OSHA initially adopt by reference the requirements of certain American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards (please see enclosed list), as an initial body of standards for the agency when it was created it is OSHA's policy not to enforce the physical qualification requirements contained in those referenced standards.

Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. I believe this letter will clarify the OSHA enforcement policy regarding physical qualification requirements for equipment operators.


Joseph A. Dear
Assistant Secretary

[Corrected 10/22/2004]