Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Are jack stands sufficient support for semi-trailer when loading/unloading with a forklift?

April 14, 2008

Mr. Milton Pleasant
Alcoa Inc.
Reynolds Wrap Center
3041 Wilson Ave.
Louisville, KY 40211

Dear Mr. Pleasant:

Thank you for your letter of September 13, 2007, to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) regional office in Atlanta, Georgia. Your letter has been forwarded to OSHA's Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). You had a question concerning OSHA's Powered industrial trucks standard, 29 CFR 1910.178, and the use of jack stands in the stabilization of semi-trailers. Your paraphrased question and our response follow.

Question: Are two jack stands, placed one on each side of the uncoupled end of a semi-trailer, sufficient to support the trailer and prevent it from upending during loading and unloading using powered industrial trucks? Is one jack stand placed in the middle of the uncoupled trailer sufficient?

Response: OSHA's Powered industrial trucks standard, at 29 CFR 1910.178(k)(3), states that "[f]ixed jacks may be necessary to support a semi-trailer and prevent upending during loading or unloading when the trailer is not coupled to a tractor." OSHA's standard does not specify a particular type of jack, nor the number and placement of such jacks. As noted in the March 19, 1991, letter to Mr. Thomas Wheeler (enclosed), the language in this paragraph is advisory rather than mandatory. However, when using portable jacks to support semi-trailers, OSHA strongly recommends following both the trailer and the jack manufacturer's instructions on the appropriate number and placement of these jacks. Additional guidance on the loading and unloading of trailers with powered industrial trucks may be found on OSHA's website at http://www.osha.gov/SLTC/poweredindustrialtrucks/loading_unloading.html.

You also enclosed a manufacturer's brochure depicting a particular type of portable jack. As you may know, OSHA does not approve, endorse, or promote any particular product, or protective measure.

For your information, the State of Kentucky administers its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved and monitored by Federal OSHA. Therefore, employers in the State of Kentucky must comply with State occupational safety and health requirements. As a condition of plan approval, States are required to adopt and enforce occupational safety and health standards that are at least as effective as those promulgated by Federal OSHA. For the most part, Kentucky standards are identical to the Federal standards, although Kentucky does have some additional standards with different requirements. If you would like further information regarding Kentucky's occupational safety and health requirements, you may contact the Kentucky Department of Labor at the following address:

Steve Morrison, Executive Director
Office of Occupational Safety and Health
1047 U.S. Highway 127 S.
Suite 4
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-3070

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