Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

July 1, 1998



[Directorate of Cooperative and State Programs]
[Directorate of Enforcement Programs]
SUBJECT: Enforcement Policy Regarding Arborists, SIC 0783 (Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services)


The purpose of this memorandum is to clarify OSHA's citation and enforcement policy regarding employers in SIC 0783 (Ornamental Shrub and Tree Services).

In 1997, the National Arborist Association expressed to OSHA concerns about the application of 29 CFR 1910.266 Logging Operations, to employers in SIC 0783. Some employers in that SIC code have been cited for violations of 1910.266 within the past few years. In a letter dated March 4, 1998 (copy attached), OSHA responded to the National Arborist Association indicating circumstances under which 1910.266 would be applicable.

On June 22, 1998, OSHA withdrew that response in a letter from Deputy Assistant Secretary Blanton (copy also attached), noting that we would like to consider these issues again, in a dialogue with the National Arborist Association to ensure safety and health in the commercial tree care industry. OSHA met with the Association on that date, and both parties agreed to work cooperatively in further discussions regarding effective means of attaining that end. Current plans call for additional discussions between OSHA and the Association, starting in August, to address the appropriate safety and health obligations of employers in the commercial tree care industry, including applicable OSHA standards.

Until these discussions have produced further resolution of the compliance issues affecting arborists, citations for violations of 1910.266 shall not be issued to employers in SIC 0783 who are not engaged in logging operations. Any proposed citations by Federal OSHA offices for 1910.266 violations to employers in SIC 0783 must be submitted to and approved by the [Director of Enforcement Programs] before issuance.

We would appreciate input on this subject from Regional Administrators and State Designees. Comments should be directed to Richard Fairfax, [Director of the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at 202-693-2100].


[Corrected 4/14/2005]