OSHA Issues Direct Final Rule on Roll-Over Protective Structures Standards

Stakeholders have until Jan. 30 to submit comments to OSHA on a direct final rule to reinstate the original roll-over protective structures (ROPS) standards for the construction and agriculture industries.

OSHA published a technical amendment in 1996 that revised the construction and agriculture standards for testing of ROPS used to protect employees who operate wheel-type tractors. The revision removed the original ROPS standards and replaced them with references to national consensus standards for ROPS-testing requirements.

The agency since has conducted a thorough evaluation of the original ROPS standards and those implemented under the 1996 technical amendment.

OSHA is proposing to reinstate the original ROPS standards for construction and agriculture after identifying several substantive differences between the national consensus standards and the original standards.

The direct final 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 direct final rule also contains minor plain language revisions that will improve comprehension and compliance with the standards.

Direct final rulemaking is an expedited process that saves regulatory resources over the more traditional rulemaking by streamlining one stage in the rulemaking process. OSHA generally publishes a proposed rule simultaneously with a direct final rule. If significant adverse comments are received on the direct final rule, it is withdrawn and the comments are addressed in a subsequent final rule document.

In this instance, however, the agency is not publishing a proposed rule. If significant adverse comments are received on the direct final rule, OSHA will withdraw the rule and determine, based on public comments, whether to issue a proposed rule in the future.

Public comments must be sent in triplicate by Jan. 30 to the Docket Office, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Room N-2625, Washington, D.C. 20210. Comments on the direct final rule should reference Docket No.S-270 A.

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