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OSHA Trade Release

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Trade News Release
March 3, 2006
Contact: Frank Meilinger
Phone: (202) 693-1999

OSHA Issues Final Rule on Roll-Over Protective Structures Standards

WASHINGTON -- The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has issued a direct final rule that regulates the testing of roll-over protective structures (ROPS) used to protect employees who operate wheel-type tractors.

Announced in a Feb. 28, Federal Register notice, the rule reinstates the agency's original construction and agriculture standards that had been replaced a decade earlier with references to national consensus standards for testing of ROPS.

The rule restores impact testing for protective frames on wheel-type tractors and an additional cold-temperature testing option under the construction standard. It also reinstates the exemption from field-upset testing option and an additional cold-temperature testing option in the agriculture standard. The final rule also contains minor plain language revisions that will improve comprehension and compliance with the standards.

The standards were reinstated through the direct final rule approach, which saves regulatory resources over notice and comment rulemaking (when there is no opposition) by eliminating one stage in the rulemaking process. OSHA stated in a Dec. 29, 2005, Federal Register that if no significant adverse comments were received, the final rule would become effective on Feb. 27, 2006. OSHA received only one public comment on the direct final rule, which was determined not to be significantly adverse.

The agency has since conducted a thorough evaluation of the original ROPS standards and those implemented under the 1996 technical amendment. OSHA reinstated the original ROPS standards for construction and agriculture after identifying several substantive differences between the national consensus standards and the original standards.

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