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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 https://www.osha.gov.
August 15, 2013
Mr. Chuck Northam,
President Safety Resource, LLC
1938 Windsor Dr.
Salisbury, Maryland 21801
Dear Mr. Northam:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). We apologize for the delay in our response to you. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any question not delineated within your original correspondence.
Your scenario and questions are restated below for clarity.
Background/ Scenario: While attending an "OSHA Listens" seminar you addressed the issue of platforms for forklifts, particularly rough-terrain. You stated that working as a consultant and a forklift trainer for a number of years; the issue of "elevating platforms" has been a recurring problem. You have contacted manufactures of the forklifts you own or operate, based on their feedback you have stated that you do not consider platforms as an attachment; instead you consider it as part of the load. Additionally, you inferred that with proper instructions, training in addition to following the requirements of platform, design and use which is covered in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), 1356.6 standards; you may elevate personnel without requiring approval from the manufacturer.
Question: Does OSHA consider forklift work platforms to be attachments or are they considered as part of the load?
Reply: OSHA considers forklift work platforms "removable attachments" (emphasis added). USA Standard B56.1-1969, Safety Standard for Powered Industrial Trucks Part II, 405 Nameplates and Markings (G) states, [o]n every removable attachment (excluding fork extensions), the attachment manufacturers shall install a durable corrosion resistant nameplate, with the following information legibly and permanently inscribed: Serial number, Weight of Attachment, Capacity or Rated Capacity of attachment.
Additionally, "the following instruction (or equivalent): "Capacity of Truck and Attachment combination may he less than capacity shown on attachment - consult truck nameplate. - This issue of personnel work platforms, for general industry is discussed in OSHA's Letter of Interpretation, Written approval requirements for powered industrial truck modifications and additions that affect capacity or safe operation.1 Note: This Letter of Interpretation states, "...please be aware that OSHA would consider the lack of manufacturer's approval to be a de minimis violation if the employer has obtained written approval from a qualified Registered Professional Engineer after receiving no response or a negative response from the powered industrial truck manufacturer."
The American National Standards Institute/Industrial Truck Standards Development Foundation, (ANSI/ITSDF) Part II, B56.6-2011, 5.2.3 states, [i]f the rough terrain fork truck is equipped with front end attachments(s) or optional forks, the user shall see that the truck is marked to identify the forks or attachments(s), show the approximate weight of the truck and fork or attachment combination, and show the capacity of the truck with forks or attachment(s) at maximum elevation with load laterally centered.
Rough terrain forklifts shall not be used to lift personnel unless there is no other practical option. Users shall ensure that the platform complies with design requirements listed in ANSI/ITSDF Part III, For the Manufacturer and follow all precautions in ANSI/ITSDF B56.6-2011, 5.15 Elevating Personnel.
It should be noted that Section 18 of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) encourages States to develop and operate their own job safety and health programs. There are currently 22 States and jurisdictions operating complete State plans (covering both the private sector and State and local government employees) and five which cover public employees only. While many State Plans adopt OSHA standards identically, your clients should check with the State Plans in which they conduct business to determine if those States have additional or more stringent requirements. For more information on OSHA-approved State Plans, please visit https://www.osha.gov/dcsp/osp/index.html
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Please be aware that OSHA's enforcement guidance is subject to periodic review and clarification, amplification, or correction. Such guidance could also be affected by subsequent rulemaking. In the future, should you wish to verify that the guidance provided herein remains current, you may consult OSHA's website at www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.
Thomas Galassi, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs
1 OSHA Interpretation letter: Written approval requirements for powered industrial truck modifications and additions that affect capacity or safe operation.