OSHA Withdraws Seatbelt Compliance Proposal

Washington, DC, -- President Jim Moran (Crown Equipment), President of the Industrial Truck Association, speaking in response to a letter received from OSHA Director of Enforcement Programs Richard Fairfax indicating that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had decided not to pursue a change in its compliance directive that would have limited the ability of inspectors to issue citations for the lack of use of seat belts on forklifts, responded, “OSHA’s decision to drop its proposal is a major victory for safety in the workplace. We were confident, once OSHA had conducted a thorough review of the pros and cons associated with its proposed action, that they’d realize they had acted precipitously. I’m glad this has been resolved.” Moran went on to thank Congressman Mike Oxley (R-OH) for his help and advice, as well as the membership of ITA, that consists of manufacturers of powered industrial trucks and their suppliers “whose unwavering support for forceful action included a substantial commitment of company resources.”

ITA Executive Director William J. Montwieler elaborated on Moran’s comments. “I think the (OSHA) proposal got as far as it did solely because OSHA wasn’t able to take the time initially to talk with all the affected parties. To its credit, OSHA eventually did come to a number of us and got the input needed to fully evaluate the proposal. I think common sense prevailed here. We’ve worked with OSHA in the past and we expect to do so in the future so that we can avoid problems like this. In point of fact, the ITA Board of Directors voted unanimously to participate to help develop a safer workplace. We expect to begin that effort in the next 30 days.”

OSHA’s action brings to a close an eight month effort by ITA and others to prevent a change in Compliance Direction CPL 2-1.28A by giving compliance officers the clear authority they need to issue citations to employers when employees fail to use seatbelts while operating powered industrial trucks. OSHA’s original proposal resulted from earlier discussions between OSHA and several automobile manufacturers and unions. The latest action enlarged the scope of participants and enabled OSHA to gain broader insight into the issues.

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