TITLE 8: Chapter 4, Subchapter 13, Article 9,
Section 6309(h) of the Logging and Sawmill Safety Orders
Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) for Equipment Used in Logging Operations


Existing Section 6309(h) requires all equipment used in logging operations (e.g. tractors, skidders, scrapers, motor-graders, and front-end loaders) to be equipped with seat belts where ROPS are required.

The Division of Occupational Safety and Health has discovered a "loophole" in this regulation. Specifically, the regulation as it is currently written would exclude older logging equipment that have been retrofitted with ROPS from the seat belt requirement because ROPS were not required for the older pieces of equipment.

This creates a serious hazard for employees who operate older model skidders and other types of equipment which were placed in service prior to April 1, 1971 (the effective date of the ROPS requirements contained in subsection (b)) and which were technically not required to have ROPS installed. In the event a piece of equipment with ROPS rolled over on to an employee, a fatality could occur.

In drafting this rulemaking proposal, Board staff consulted with a representative of the Association of California Loggers (ACL) who stated that while the number of pre April 1, 1971 logging equipment still in service is probably small at this point in time, the ACL representative could not say conclusively that there are no older pieces of equipment still in service which are equipped with ROPS but not seat belts. For this reason, both the ACL representative who supports the proposed revision and Board staff are in agreement with the Division that amendment of subsection (h) is necessary.


Board staff proposes to delete one word in Section 6309(h) and replace it with language which will clearly indicate to the employer that the seat belt requirement applies to all logging equipment that is equipped with ROPS, old and new, regardless of when it was placed in service.

The proposed revision is as follows:

Section 6309. Canopies. Rollover, Jill Poke and Overhead Guard Protection.
Existing Section 6309 contains specific requirements for various types of logging equipment addressing the following items: installation; use and specifications for canopies and ROPS; canopy visibility and design; labeling of the canopy; use of brush guards (jill poke protection); protection of openings into the canopy; use of seat belts; and, the use of forklift trucks with overhead guards in logging operations.

Subsection (h).
Subsection (h) requires use and installation of seat belts meeting the requirements of SAE J-386 on all equipment for which ROPS are required and the employees be instructed in their use. This regulation also contains a "Note" permitting the substitution of approved body belts/harnesses controlled by an inertia reel to hold the operator in place during rollover in lieu of seat belts.

A revision is proposed to delete the word "required" in subsection (h), for replacement by the term "installed." The proposed revision is necessary to clearly indicate to the employer that all logging equipment (e.g. skidders, tractors, loaders, etc.) equipped with ROPS are to be equipped with a seat belt for use by the equipment operator. The revision is also necessary to ensure no employee is crushed by the ROPS on the logging equipment if it rolls over.


  1. Memorandum from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board dated November 5, 1997 concerning request for new or change in existing safety order, seat belts with ROPS installation, Section 6309(h).
This document is available for review during normal business hours at the Standards Board's Office located at 1300 "I" Street, Suite 920, Sacramento, California.


It is anticipated that no adverse impact on small business will occur as a result of the implementation of the proposed amendment because it merely consists of a technical, clarifying revision to an existing regulation and does not impose any new or different requirements upon the regulated public. The central issue addressed by the proposed revision is to clearly indicate to the regulated public the applicability of the Section 6309(h) seat belt requirement to all logging equipment where ROPS is installed regardless of age.

The proposal is intended to eliminate an inconsistency between the existing language and accepted practice with regard to equipping logging equipment that has ROPS with seat belts. Use of seat belts whenever ROPS is installed is well accepted safety engineering practice for the protection of the equipment operator. Again, since logging equipment subject to possible rollover are designed with ROPS, manufacturer's have for the most part installed seat belts, then for overall impact of the proposal is anticipated to be insignificant.


This proposal does not mandate the use of specific technology or equipment.


Costs or Savings to State Agencies
No costs or savings to state agencies will result as a consequence of the proposed revision to Sections 6309(h). This is because the proposal imposes no new or added requirements and merely consists of a technical clarifying revision of an existing regulation and because state agencies do not operate the type of equipment affected by Section 6309(h).

Impact on Housing Costs
This proposal will not significantly affect housing costs.

Impact on Businesses
This proposal merely updates existing references to ANSI/ASME standards for new equipment and/or equipment recently placed in service. Those employees who use equipment which is not labeled as meeting the ANSI/ASME standards will need to provide them. Costs will be negligible in relation to the cost of the equipment (crane or derrick).

Cost Impact on Private Persons or Entities
None (see explanation under "Cost or Savings to State Agencies").

Costs or Savings in Federal Funding to the State
The proposal will not result in costs or savings in federal funding to the state.

Costs or Savings to Local Agencies or School Districts Required to be Reimbursed
No costs to local agencies or school districts are required to be reimbursed. See explanation under "Determination of Mandate" above and "Impact on Businesses."

Other Nondiscretionary Costs or Savings Imposed on Local Agencies
None. See explanation under "Cost or Savings to State Agencies" and "Impact on Businesses".


The Occupational Safety and Health Standard Board has determined that the proposed regulation does not impose a mandate requiring reimbursement by the state pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of the Government Code because the proposed amendment will not require local agencies or school districts to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. Furthermore, the regulation does not constitute a "new program or higher level of service of an existing program within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution". The California Supreme Court has established that a "program" within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution is one which carries out the governmental function of providing services to the public, or which to implement a state policy, imposes unique requirements on local governments and does not apply generally to all residents and entities in the state. (County of Los Angeles v. State of California (1987) 43 Cal. 3d 46.)

The proposed regulation does not require local agencies to carry out the governmental function of providing services to the public. Rather, the regulation requires local agencies to take certain steps to ensure the safety and health of their own employees only. Moreover, the proposed regulation does not in any way require local agencies to administer the California Occupational Safety and Health program. (See City of Anaheim v. State of California (1987) 189 Cal. App. 3d 1478.)

The proposed regulation does not impose unique requirements on local governments.


It has been determined that the proposal may affect small business. The express terms of the proposal written in plain English have been prepared by the Board pursuant to Government Code Sections 11342(e) and 11346.2(a)(1) and the informative digest for this proposal constitutes a plain English overview.


The adoption of the proposed amendment to the regulation will neither create nor eliminate jobs in the State of California nor result in the elimination jobs in the State of California nor result in the elimination of existing businesses or create or expand businesses in the State of California.


No alternatives considered by the Board would be more effective in carrying out the purpose for which the regulation is proposed or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the proposed action.