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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.
April 4, 2013
Mr. Jim Wedoff
2545 Northwest Parkway
Elgin, IL 60124
Dear Mr. Wedoff:
Thank you for your August 07, 2012 email to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This is in further response to the conversation we had regarding your question on taking out of service customer owned equipment. This constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence.
The scenario you present involves forklift service provided by your company. Specifically, you would like to know your responsibilities with respect to OSHA compliance when "marking or labeling out" customer-owned forklifts that have safety related issues. You indicate that your employees are not the operators of the forklifts. Instead, your company solely provides maintenance services.
The following paragraphs of 29 CFR 1910.178 address the operation and maintenance of powered industrial trucks. Paragraph 1910.178(p)(1) states that "at any time a powered industrial truck is found to be in need of repair, defective, or in any way unsafe, the truck shall be taken out of service until it has been restored to safe operating condition." Paragraph 1910.178(q)(1), states "any power-operated industrial truck not in safe operating condition shall be removed from service."
The responsibility to ensure powered industrial trucks (PITs) are operated and maintained safely is generally that of the employer whose employees are exposed to hazards associated with this equipment. Because such exposure would likely be limited to employees who are operating the equipment, your company would not be covered by the provisions of 29 CFR 1910.178 so long as your employees are limited to the performance of maintenance operations. OSHA would, however, encourage your company to communicate deficiencies of PITs to your clients.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA's requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA's
interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov. If you have further questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs