- 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 https://www.osha.gov.
February 28, 2001
Mr. Greg Hayes
Director of Marketing
Benson International, Inc.
Mineral Wells, WV 26150
Dear Mr. Hayes:
This responds to your July 12, 2000, letter to Richard Fairfax, Director, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Directorate of Compliance Programs, regarding dump truck bodies and cab shields. Your letter was referred to the Directorate of Construction because your question deals with a construction standard. We apologize for the delay in providing this response.
Your letter addresses 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(6). This construction standard deals with haulage vehicles that operate within an off-highway industry jobsite and are loaded by means of cranes, power shovels, loaders, or similar equipment. It requires that these vehicles:
have a cab shield and/or canopy adequate to protect the vehicle operator from shifting or falling materials.
Question 1: Your letter explains that typical dump trucks are set up with the front of the dump body as close as possible to the back of the cab, usually within 1 foot (0.3 m) or less. You recognize that for these vehicles, the required cab shield protects drivers, who often sit in the cab during loading, from shifting or falling material. However, you assert that "non-typical" dump trucks, in which the dump bodies may be situated as much as 4 feet (1.2 m) from the cab, remove the driver from close proximity of the loading process. As a manufacturer of these vehicles, you ask if the standard allows an employer to use such trucks without a cab shield. Specifically, you ask if there is a minimum distance from the front of dump body to the back of cab that applies with respect to determining whether a cab shield must be present.
Paragraph (b)(6) of §1926.601 was first published as an OSHA standard in 1971. It was derived from a Construction Safety Act standard, which was based on the Army Corps of Engineers rules (19.A.13, March 1967); there have been no revisions to the OSHA standard.1
Answer: The standard does not distinguish between dump trucks with dump truck bodies directly behind the cab and those with a 4-foot (1.2-m) separation. The stated purpose of the standard is to protect the operator from "shifting or falling materials." Regarding your assertion that non-typical dump trucks remove the vehicle driver from close proximity of the loading process, the few additional feet of distance from the loading process will not necessarily provide protection equivalent to that of a cab shield. For example, a cab shield provides protection in the event of errors by the loader operator or material falling from a loader bucket passing near or over the cab. In short, the standard applies equally to these non-typical dump trucks with up to a 4-foot (1.2-m) separation.
You ask if there is a distance between the cab and the dump truck body at which the cab shield would no longer be required. It is likely that there is a distance at which there is little risk of material shifting or falling from the dump truck bed or from the loader. At such a distance, it might well be appropriate for OSHA to apply the "de minimis" policy set out in OSHA Instruction [CPL 02-00-148 Field Operations Manual]. A violation is considered de minimis 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 impact on the safety and health of workers. OSHA does not impose penalties or require correction of de minimis violations. However, we would need supporting information to determine whether the policy could be applied, such as typical loading scenarios and calculations regarding how far (and under what conditions) materials can shift out of the dump bed towards the cab during transit.
We note your concern that putting cab shields on these non-typical dump trucks could increase the height of the raised dump truck body, thus increasing the risk of electrocution from the raised dump truck body contacting overhead lines. There is no requirement in the standard that the cab shield be attached to the dump truck body. Perhaps this problem could be avoided if the cab shield could be attached to the truck frame instead of making it a part of the dump truck body.
Question 2: The standard requires that the cab shield be "adequate to protect the vehicle operator from shifting or falling materials." Your second question asks what is meant by "adequate."
Answer: The use of a term like this in a standard, rather than specifications for metal thickness, strength, etc., allows employers flexibility when choosing options to protect their employees. "Adequate" means that the cab shield must be sufficient to protect the operator from shifting or falling material in reasonably foreseeable types and weights and scenarios. As long as the design and construction accomplishes these objectives, it will be considered "adequate."
If you need additional information, please contact us by fax at: U.S. Department of Labor, OSHA, Directorate of Construction, Office of Construction Standards and Guidance, fax # 202-693-1689. You can also contact us by mail at the above office, Room N3468, 200 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20210, although there will be a delay in our receiving correspondence by mail.
Russell B. Swanson, Director
Directorate of Construction
1 Note that all end dump trucks operating between jobsites on the public highways must comply with all the provisions of 29 CFR 1926.601 when the trucks enter off-highway jobsites. However, if there is a conflict between these standards and those of the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), then the DOT requirements have precedence while the trucks are operating on the public highways.) [ back to text ]