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.

April 28, 1995

Mr. Mitchell S. Allen
Constangy, Brooks & Smith
Suite 2400
230 Peachtree Street, N.W.
Atlanta, Georgia 30303-1557

Dear Mr. Allen:

This is in response to your September 28, 1994 letter requesting a compliance determination by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) of the Powered industrial truck standard 29 CFR 1910.178(m)(5)(iii) and the use of the load engaging means in an elevated position for use as a work table for the prevention and control of ergonomic hazards. I apologize for the delay in responding to your inquiry.

As you are aware, the subject standard requires that when the operator of an industrial truck is dismounted and within 25 feet of the truck still in view, the load engaging means shall be fully lowered, controls neutralized, and the brakes set to prevent movement.

However, when an employer complies with the clear intent of the standard but deviates from its particular requirements in a manner that has no direct or immediate relationship to employee safety and health, it would be considered a De Minimis violation.

Therefore, the load engaging means may be used in an elevated position for use as a work table for the purpose of manually loading the pallet in order to prevent and control ergonomic hazards when compliance with the other requirements of Section 1910.178(m)(5)(iii) and the following conditions are met:

1. Bring the truck to a complete stop;

2. Stop the engine or turn off the controls;

3. Block the wheels, if the truck must be left on an incline;

4. Instruct employees not to place any part of their body, such as feet, under the elevated forks or load;

5. Employees loading the pallet shall be required to wear foot protection;

6. Provide additional training for operators and other affected employees in the safe use of the elevated load engaging means for use as a work table.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact Mr. Wil Epps of my staff at (202) 219-8041.


John B. Miles, Jr.
Directorate of Compliance Programs