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• Standard Number: 1926.601(b)(4)(i)

July 12, 1993

Mr. Robert F. Knapp
R.F. Knapp Company
P.O. Box 245
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869

Dear Mr. Knapp:

This is in response to your May 12 letter requesting compliance determinations for your "Radar Backup Alarm System 202" as it relates to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4)(i). That provision addresses reverse signal alarms for motor vehicles. I apologize for the delay in responding to this inquiry, however, with regard to your previous requests, our records show that on June 29, 1988, the National Office did respond to your April 15, 1988 letter forwarded from the San Francisco Regional Office. (See enclosure)

Please be advised that OSHA does not approve nor endorse products. The variable working conditions at jobsites and possible alterations or misapplication of an otherwise safe product could easily create a hazardous condition beyond the control of the manufacturer. However, we have reviewed the product data enclosed with your letter and it appears that if the "System 202" immediately activates an external reverse signal alarm at the rear of the vehicle when put in reverse gear, and provides adequate warning to persons in the path of the vehicle, and to persons walking towards the path of the vehicle in time to avoid contact, it would comply with the intent of the above mentioned standard.

Also, please be advised that we are forwarding a copy of your letter to the Directorate of Safety Standards Programs for evaluation of the need for possible revision of the standards addressing reverse signal alarms.

If we can be of any further assistance, please contact me or Mr. Dale Cavanaugh of my staff at (202) 219-8136.

Sincerely,



Roy F. Gurnham, P.E., Esq. Director
Office of Construction and Maritime
Compliance Assistance




June 29, 1988

Mr. Robert F. Knapp
3361 Penryn Road
Loomis, California 95650

Dear Mr. Knapp:

This is in further response to your letter of April 15, concerning the audio backup warning device you submitted to our San Francisco, California, Regional Office for evaluation. We apologize for the lateness of this response.

It is the policy of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) not to approve or endorse products. The variable working conditions at jobsites and possible alteration or misapplication of an otherwise safe product could easily create a hazardous condition beyond the control of the product manufacturer. However, we have evaluated you backup Brake Alert System III.

29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4) requires the following:

No employer shall use any motor vehicle equipment having an obstructed view to the rear unless:

(i) The vehicle has a reverse signal alarm audible above the surrounding noise level or:

(ii) The vehicle is backed up only when an observer signals that it is safe to do so.

It appears based on the information provided in the brochure that the Brake Alert System II installed with an adequate alarm bell which sounds immediately upon backing would comply with 29 CFR 1926.601(b)(4). However, the alarm must sound at the rear of the vehicle so that persons in the path of the vehicle will hear it.

Your 97 decibel audio warning device, on the rear of the vehicle must be activated immediately upon backing to comply with the above mentioned standard.

If we may be of further assistance, please let us know.

Sincerely,



Thomas J. Shepich, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs.




April 15, 1988

R.F. Knapp Co. Manufacturing
3361 Penryn Rd.
Loomis, California 95650

Mr. Ghillotti,

I am writing this letter as a follow up to our telephone conversation on April 15, 1988.

Brake Alert System II was designed to be mounted and used on vehicles that already have audio backup warning devices. System II only alerts the driver to objects or people behind the vehicle.

Brake Alert System III is the same as System II except with the addition of a 97 decibel audio warning device to be mounted on the rear of the vehicle. When the sensor unit detects an object or person in the path of the backing vehicle, the red light and buzzer are activated in the cab to warn the driver. At that time the 97 decibel audio warning device, on the rear of the vehicle, is activated and the person or persons behind the vehicle are warned.

Does this product, "Brake Alert System III", comply with OSHA requirements of Section 1929 CFR 1926.601(B)?

Thank you,



Robert F. Knapp (owner)



May 12, 1993

Directorate of Compliance Programs
USDOL/OSHA
Francis Perkins Building
200 Constitution Ave,
Room N3119
Washington, D.C. 20210

Reference:  San Francisco O.S.H.A.
           Letter Dated May 3, 1988.
Reference:  Robert F. Knapp
           Letter Dated December 7, 1988.
Reference:  Numerous Phone Calls During 1988-1989-1990.




To Whom It May Concern,

In early 1988 I requested an approval of a new concept in Backup Alarm Systems which I had created in 1986. I requested confirmation for the use of these systems from you San Francisco office. As the letter (copy enclosed) states, the system that I created met the intent of the Standard but the letter also stated that a final interpretation would be forthcoming from the National Director Mr. Shay. I made several phone calls during the year but got no response. I waited until December 7th, 1988 and finally wrote a letter to Mr. Shay (copy enclosed). In 1989 and 1990, I made numerous phone calls but only got the run around. No one would tell me anything. I never did reach Mr. Shay. Nobody would give me any advice on how to get approval for the use of my product.

I have been marketing my products to the Mining Industry. The Bureau of Mines Safety and Health Administration wrote a very clear regulation concerning this technology Oct. 24, 1988. I refer you to CFR 56.14132(b)(1)(iii) and CFR 56.14200.

One of the many problems created by your unwillingness to officially recognize this concept is with companies that work their equipment part time in a mining environment and part time in a non-mining environment. While meeting the standards of the M.S.H.A. regulation, they are not sure what your departments interpretation will be.

Noise Pollution is a real concern with many Construction Companies and Public Works Departments throughout this country. Neighbors who find themselves listening to the continuous Backup Alarms have put restraints on many operations limiting working hours as well as complete stoppage of projects. As any one who has tried to sleep while a piece of construction equipment was working in the neighborhood can tell you, there must be a better way.

The continuous repetitive backup alarm noise has been considered to actually contribute to backing accidents by the Bureau of mines because they are considered false signals until there is a real danger. They contend that ground personnel become "Habituated" by the false alarms and don't respond when the danger becomes real. The Bureau of Mines published several articles and reports on their research.

After spending twenty five years on the job in the Construction Industry, it was my own observation that the continuous repetitive style backup alarm had to be improved upon. The continuous backup alarm was the best that technology had to offer back in the sixties when it was mandated for use. The most important missing element was that it failed to alert the driver of the potential accident. The concept of a continuous backup alarm assumed that everyone would get out of the way. Most of the time, everyone did get out of the way but sometimes they didn't. These are the times that the driver would appreciate a warning. This new technology gives that warning.

Another point that must be made is the fact that parked cars, fire hydrants, buildings and inanimate objects don't have the ability to get out of the way. Millions and millions of dollars are lost to property damage caused by backing accidents each year. This type of accident and needless expense can be eliminated by the use of the Radar Backup Alarm Systems.

A letter Dated May 3, 1993 from the State of California, Division of Occupational Safety and Health, recognizes the System 202 that I manufacture as meeting their Construction Safety Orders, Sections 1592 (a) and (b)(1). I asked them for an interpretation in a letter dated April 16, 1993. They responded in less than four weeks.

As you can see in the Radar Backup Alarm Systems Brochure that I have enclosed, the System 202 sounds the existing Audio Backup Alarm when the vehicle is placed into reverse gear. It sounds the audio alarm for four seconds and then shuts it off. When a person or inanimate object is detected within the radar pattern, the audio backup alarm is turned back on to warn ground personnel. This feature makes the audio alarm a real warning. At the same instance, a red light and Audio Buzzer is turned on for the driver providing the opportunity to stop. My System 202 does not try to give distances or perform any function other than to simply give the operator a timely warning of the potential accident.

The System 202 is built with a Power Loss Safety Feature. If the ignition power to the sensor is lost or the ground to the sensor is lost, the Existing Audible Backup Alarm becomes activated and performs exactly the same as before the System 202 was installed.

It is my opinion that not only does the System 202 meet the "Intent" of the standard as so stated in the Letter from you San Francisco office but actually meets the standard as "Written".

The Code of Federal Regulations 29 1926.601(b)(4)(i) states: "No employer shall use any motor vehicle equipment having an obstructed view to the rear unless: The vehicle has a reverse signal alarm audible above the surrounding noise level."

Point..The System 202 does not replace the existing backup alarm

that is on the vehicle. The same alarm that usually comes as standard equipment is still used.

Point..The System 202 does not effect the noise level of the

backup alarm when it is turned on.

Point..The standard does not say "Continuous" reverse signal

alarm.

I can understand why someone might be reluctant to respond to a request for an interpretation because this new technology has not been available before. With the System 202, the vehicle would still have an "alarm audible above the surrounding noise level."

I am just a small time entrepreneur that has seen a real need and am trying to fill it. After having witnessed many backing accidents, I have decided to do something about it. So far, since designing this concept in 1986, I have spent over six years and all of my assets developing the product. It goes without saying, I really believe in what I am doing.

I sincerely request a written interpretation of the Standard as it effects my System 202. Do you agree that it meets the Standard as written? Does it meet the intent of the Standard as stated by the San Francisco office?

I do hope that you will effect an interpretation for me. It has been over five years since I first requested it.

Thank you.

Sincerely,



Robert F. Knapp
P.O. Box 245
Spirit Lake, Idaho 83869
208-623-5244




May 3, 1988

R.F. Knapp Company
3361 Penryn Road
Loomis, CA 95650

Attention: Robert F. Knapp

Dear Mr. Knapp:

In response to your letter of April 15, 1988 regarding the audio backup warning device the following information is provided:

The brochure, printed in red, states "When the Sensor Unit Detects an object or someone in the path of the backing vehicle, the red light and buzzer are activated in the cab to alert the driver".

If System III upon alerting the driver, the driver has enough distance to stop the vehicle before hitting the object or person than the device would meet the intent of the standard.

There is also the option on System III of continuous audio warning which would comply with the standard.

Because this item will be sold nationally an acceptance letter should be obtained through our National Office. Your literature is being forwarded to:

         Don Shay, Director
         Directorate of Compliance Programs USDOL/OSHA 
         Francis Perkins Building
         200 Constitution Avenue,
         Room N3119
         Washington, D.C.  20210
         (202) 523-8031
A final interpretation will be forthcoming from Mr. Shay.

Sincerely,



GABRIEL J. GILLOTTI
Assistant Regional Administrator
Office of Technical Support




December 7, 1988

Mr. Don Shay, Director
Directorate of Compliance
Programs USDOL/OSHA
Francis Perkins Building
200 Constitution Avenue,
Room N3119
Washington, D.C. 20210

Dear Mr. Shay:

In May of 1988 I sought an acceptance letter from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration for my "Break Alert System". As referenced int he attached letter a final interpretation was to be forthcoming from your office. I realize that the information provided to evaluate my product may not have been comprehensive enough to ascertain the compliance of my product with the established standards. To assist in your evaluation of my products I would like to supplement any information that you have with the following:

My product "Break Alert Systems" uses discrimination backup alarm technology. It is a Microwave Radar system, using the Doppler shift principle where it measures the difference in velocity of an object. When the unit detects an object or person in the path of the backing vehicle, it warns the driver with a red light and buzzer on the dash and also activates the outside regularly required back-up alarm to warn people on the ground. In fact the system meets all the requirements listed in the attached memorandum from the U.S. Department of Labor, Mine and Safety Administration memorandum dated July 28, 1987.

My objective is to introduce my product to the construction Industry on a National level. Your consideration of a letter of acceptance would be greatly appreciated.

Sincerely,



Robert F. Knapp
Owner


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