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 http://www.osha.gov.

July 8, 1997

Mr. Paul Svehlik
Technical Manager
Zetor Tractors
300 N 9th Hwy, 146N
LaPorte, Texas 77571

Dear Mr. Svehlik:

This is in further response to your letter of February 3, to Chappell Pierce in the Directorate of Safety Standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), regarding Roll-over protective Structures (ROPS) for agricultural wheeled tractors. Mr. Pierce has forwarded your letter to me for response. I apologize for the delay in responding.

In your letter you ask for verification the following facts.

Fact #1

From a letter [found on the Internet] we understand per OSHA assessment ROPS which meet the requirements of [the American National Standards Institute/Society of automotive Engineers] ANSI/SAE J2194 or ASAE S519 provide superior safeguarding of exposed workers and therefore are functionally equivalent to the OSHA requirements.

Fact #2:

Paragraph 2.1 [currently, paragraph 1.1] of SAE J2194 states, that "ANY ROPS meeting the performance requirement of [International Organization for standardization ISO 5700 [Static ROPS Test Standard or ISO 3463 [Dynamic ROPS Test Standard] meets the performance requirement of this SAE Standard if the ROPS temperature/material and seat belt requirements of this SAE Standard are also met.

Fact #3.

In Europe, it is O.E.C.D. Coordinating Centre (CEMAGREF), which approves a draft test report on the protected structure, obviously tested per either ISO 5700 or ISO 3463.

You state that your primary concern is whether OSHA would automatically recognize the ROPS frame "S.+L.+H. T61 Front Roll Guard" based on the above statements.

The documents which you submitted include: (1) a list of the agriculture tractor models that the protective structure is mounted on; (2) a picture of the Lamborghini Runner 250, 350, 450; (3) specifications of the test tractor, which was the Solaris 45 DT, dated 26 March 1992; and (4) an O.E.C.D. draft test report, dated 9 December 1992, which lists the approval numbers for eight tractor denominations -- all for Horlimann Prince tractors. No documentation, however, was submitted showing what the test results were. Was the protective structure S+L+H T61 deformed, cracked, or broken in any way when tested on any of the models?

The OSHA standard for roll-over protective structures (ROPS) for tractors used in agricultural operations may be found in 29 CFR 1928.51. Through the cooperation of the SAE committee and its member companies, OSHA has been able to assess the impact of the current standard on the workplace safety and health of farm workers. The assessment has shown that the current ROPS structures specified by SAE J2194 and ASAE S519 do provide superior safeguarding of exposed workers compared to the previous requirements of the SAE or the OSHA standards.

Since the SAE states (in paragraph 1.1 of SAE J2194) that any ROPS meeting the performance requirement of ISO 5700 or ISO 3463 would meet the SAE standard, if the ROPS temperature/material and seat belts requirements are also met, OSHA would accept the ISO as equivalent per SAE.

OSHA, however, has no way of knowing if your equipment meets the ISO test and we are not in a position to make such a determination. The responsibility of meeting OSHA standards, or equivalent standards, is with the employer. Whether an employer is in violation of OSHA standards depends how the equipment is used by its employees as well as the safety of the equipment itself.

Sincerely,



Raymond E. Donnelly, Director
Office of General Industry Compliance Assistance