- Standard Number:
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.
June 16, 1999
Ms. Christa Ringwald
Director of Safety
Cummins Construction Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 748
Enid, Oklahoma 73702
Re: 29 CFR 1926.201 (a)(4); Red/Orange Warning Garment for Flagmen
Dear Ms. Ringwald:
This is in response to your letter dated May 3, 1999, requesting a variance to the requirement in 1926.201(a)(4) that flagmen wear red or orange warning garments while flagging during daytime and reflectorized red or orange at nighttime. Your variance request is based, in part, on current standards prescribed in Part VI of the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD), Section 6E-3 which provides a broader scope of high visibility colors for daytime (i.e., orange, yellow, strong yellow green or fluorescent versions of these colors) and nighttime work (i.e., retroreflective material in orange, yellow, white, silver, strong yellow green, or a fluorescent version of one of these colors).
The Agency has received comments similar to yours that flagmen wearing orange or red while surrounded by orange/red drums or signs could be less visible to motorists than flagmen wearing a distinctive contrasting color. OSHA recognizes the need to replace the reference to the outdated American National Standards Institute (ANSI) D6.1-1971 with the most current (and more protective) ANSI D6.1e-1989 standard and the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and Part VI of the MUTCD, Standards and Guides for Traffic Controls for Street and Highway Construction, Maintenance, Utility, and Incident Management Operations (Revision 3, November 1994). This rulemaking process has begun but will take some time to complete.
Until that time, if you fully comply with the most current ANSI D6.1e-1989 standard along with Part VI of the MUTCD (Revision 3, November 1994), OSHA will consider that acceptable in lieu of compliance with §.200(g) Traffic Signs, §.201 Signaling, and §.202 Barricades; the violation of the 1971 ANSI standard is considered de minimis in such cases. Therefore, a variance is not needed. You may use the colors prescribed in Part VI of the MUTCD, Section E-3 for daytime (i.e., orange, yellow, strong yellow green or fluorescent versions of these colors) and nighttime work (i.e., retroreflective material in orange, yellow, white, silver, strong yellow green, or a fluorescent version of one of these colors).
If you require further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us again by writing to: U.S. Department of Labor/OSHA, Director of Construction, 200 constitution Avenue, N.W., Room N3467, Washington, D.C. 20210.
Russell B. Swanson
Directorate of Construction