Clarification of Attachments Regulations

Original Source as on 12/9/2005

July 3, 2002


Thank you for your June 28, 2000 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Compliance Programs. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had specific questions regarding clarification of powered industrial truck issues in 29 CFR 1910.178, Powered Industrial Trucks.

Please accept our apology for the delay in responding to your letter. However, as you were advised by telephone and interim letter, our reply required extensive research, and several levels of departmental review.

Question: Are sections (a)(4) and (5) stand alone sections? Should it be interpreted that prior written approval is required from the manufacturer to use front-end attachments as well as making any modifications and/or additions to a powered industrial truck.

Reply: A front-end attachment would generally be an "addition" within the meaning of §1910.178(a)(4) that affects capacity and safe operation. Section §1910.178(a)(5) assumes that the truck with the attachments will already be, "marked to identify the attachments and show the approximate weight of the truck and attachment combination at maximum elevation with load laterally centered." Before a non-factory-installed attachment may be used, however, the user must comply both with (a)(4), by obtaining the truck manufacturer's written approval, and with (a)(5), by having the truck appropriately marked.

Please be aware that OSHA would consider the lack of manufacturer's approval to be a de minimis violation if you had obtained written approval from a qualified Registered Professional Engineer after receiving no response or a negative response from the powered industrial truck manufacturer. If the manufacturer's response was negative then the engineer, prior to granting approval for the modification or addition, would need to perform a safety analysis and address all safety and/or structural issues contained in the manufacturer's disapproval. OSHA might not accept an engineer's written approval if it did not address all of the manufacturer's safety and structural issues.

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 interpretation letters explain these 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. Also, 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 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 Compliance Programs


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