Temporary Experimental Variances are Available for Tractor-Mounted Platforms

Temporary Experimental Variances are Available for Tractor-Mounted Platforms

March 14, 2014

Cal/OSHA has consistently taken the position, according to the Monterey County Farm Bureau, that use of tractor-mounted platforms to transport workers violates Cal/OSHA safety standards.

These devices are widely used in the state, particularly in the southern Central Valley and on the Central Coast.

Current Cal/OSHA safety standards prohibit "riders on agricultural equipment other than persons required for instruction or assistance in machine operation."

On February 24, the agency released a memorandum describing how agricultural employers who wish to use tractor mounted personnel platforms to reduce employee fatigue may write to Cal/OSHA to apply for a variance from this standard.

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board grants permanent variances, but the employer must show that the proposed variance would provide safety equal to or better than the existing standard.

Information about applying for a permanent variance is available at the Board's website.

Cal/OSHA grants temporary experimental variances (TEVs), which allow employers to "participate in an experiment . . . designed to demonstrate or validate new and improved techniques to safeguard the health or safety of workers."

A TEV will allow you to gather the information necessary for the Board to evaluate a permanent variance application.

Generally, TEVs granted by the agency are valid for one year, and are envisioned to presage an employer application for a permanent variance.

Both permanent variances and temporary variances are granted to employers individually; an employer who has not been granted either type of variance may not use tractor transportation platforms because another employer has been granted a variance.

To apply for a TEV, you must send a signed letter to:

Juliann Sum, Acting Cal/OSHA chief

1515 Clay Street

Oakland, CA 94612