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.

March 16, 1998

Mr. Robert S. Beisel
Safety Consultant
Hazard Recognition Services, Inc.
P.O. Box 243
Sardis, Ohio 43946-0243

Re: 29 CFR 1926.602(a)(1)

Dear Mr. Beisel:

This is in response to your letter of November 17 to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA.) Your letter requested an interpretation of OSHA's standard in 29 CFR 1926.602(a)(1) with regard to a Ferguson pneumatic compaction roller. You explained that your concerns are directed toward "mandatory and/or non-mandatory provisions which currently exist for providing ROPS, seat belts, gates, doors, or other safeguarding for this specific equipment."

OSHA does not currently have a standard addressing the hazard of rollover for this type of compactor equipment. Section 1926.602(a)(1) states that: "The promulgation of specific rules for compactors and 'skid steer' equipment is reserved pending consideration of standards currently being developed."

The construction industry has long recognized the hazard of rollover with respect to compactors and skid steer equipment. In 1977, SAE adopted performance criteria for ROPS, when used on a variety of different kinds of machines, including compactors and ski steer equipment. In other words, if a manufacturer or owner decided to install ROPS on such equipment, SAE recommended that it meet a specified minimum level of performance. It developed that criteria after studying how ROPS had performed in actual rollover incidents (SAE J1040b (1977).) Therefore, at least since 1977, the industry has recognized that there is rollover hazard associated with this type of equipment.

Thus, it is OSHA's position that the hazard of equipment rollover is a "recognized" hazard within the meaning of the general duty clause (section 5(a)(1)) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act and that ROPS and seat belts are feasible in many situations to reduce this hazard for pneumatic compactors and "skid steer" equipment.

This letter supersedes an August 8, 1991 letter to Mr. Ken Cooper of the U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service.

Thank you for your concern about this important occupational safety issue.


Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction