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.

February 21, 2006

Mr. Andy M. Flatter
7006 N. Fleming Street
Spokane, Washington 99208

Dear Mr. Flatter:

Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter has been referred to the Directorate of Enforcement Program's (DEP's) Office of General Industry Enforcement for an answer to your question regarding OSHA's Powered Industrial Truck Standard, 29 CFR 1910.178. Your question has been restated below for clarity.

Question: What is OSHA's current policy regarding powered industrial truck operators taking prescribed narcotics?

Reply: OSHA does not have a specific policy on powered industrial truck operators using prescribed drugs. However, under the Occupational Safety and Health Act an employer must exercise reasonable diligence to prevent violations of standards such as 29 CFR 1910.178(n), 1910.178(o), and 1910.178(p). Whether a prescription drug will adversely affect an employee's ability to safely operate an industrial truck will depend on a number of factors, including the nature of the drug and the employee's reaction to it, and the circumstances of the work. If an operator's ability to operate a truck in a safe manner is impaired as a result of using medications, or for any other reason, an employer who is or should be aware of the impairment must take appropriate steps, which could include not allowing the employee to operate a truck during the period of actual impairment.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. 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. In addition, 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. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at 202-693-1850.

Sincerely,



Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs