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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.178; 1910.178(k)(1); 1910.178(m)(7)

This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any situation not delineated within the original correspondence.

November 8, 2005

Mr. Robert M. Turner
318 North Orchard Heights Way
Nampa, Idaho 83651

Dear Mr. Turner:

Thank you for your recent 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: Are chocks required on trailers when docked to buildings with downward approaches when boarded by a powered industrial truck?

Reply: Section 4(b)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (the Act) bars the application of the Act to working conditions regulated by other federal agencies. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration's (FMSCA's) braking regulations in 49 CFR Part 393, Subpart C, preempt OSHA from enforcing 29 CFR 1910.178(k)(1), requiring the chocking of highway trucks while they are being boarded by powered industrial trucks, and 29 CFR 1910.178(m)(7), requiring the blocking of trucks, trailers, or railroad cars while loading or unloading, against operators of commercial motor vehicles (CMVs). Therefore, if the trailer in question is a CMV, as defined in 49 U.S.C. §31132(1), OSHA would not enforce its chocking requirements. That section defines a "commercial motor vehicle" as, among other things, "a self-propelled or towed vehicle used on the highways in interstate commerce... if the vehicle (A) has a gross vehicle weight rating or gross vehicle weight of at least 10,001 pounds, whichever is greater... or ... (D) is used in transporting materials found by the Secretary of Transportation to be hazardous under section 5103 of this title and transported in a quantity requiring placarding under regulations prescribed by the Secretary under section 5103." However, if the trailer is not considered a CMV, OSHA would enforce its chocking requirements regardless of the dock's downward approach.

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 interpretations letters explain the 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
www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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