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Topic Originally created by mrdmrd on Tow411 in February of 2004:


I wrote a couple of posts on this topic and tried to point out what I thought OSHA's enforcement scheme was for the towing and recovery industry. They don't have one. They will treat towing like they treat all the others they regulate under the heading of "general industry". If you have an accident in your workplace that results in a fatality or serious injury to one of your employees, you will likely recieve a visit, particularly if the incident is highly publicized. If our industry has a significant number of incidents of a similar nature that result in employee fatalities or injuries, they may target our industry for inspections to see if a particular OSHA standard is being followed. For example, tow truck drivers are being injured while working on the roadside (hit by passing traffic). The question would be are the employers doing everything the can to provide a safe working environment, i.e. drivers wearing personal protective equipment (reflective vests or similar such clothing, working warning lights on the tow truck, warning devices present for on-coming traffic, etc.) Depending on what they find, there might be an increase in enforcement activity to insure compliance. OSHA has a huge job in insuring the workplace health and safety of all employees in all industries. They put their limited resources where they think there is a problem. I tend to think they are more reactive than proactive in this regard. Towing and recovery can be a very hazardous for those in the business, but there are lots of other industries with the same or a greater degree of risk in terms of health and safety. In this regard, I do not believe that OSHA will single out tow operators for any special consideration relative to more enforcement or additional regulations. I hope I am correct in these assumptions.



Hartland Service said:

Mike, I think that where the confusion is coming from.

There are some who want to invite OSHA in, a toe hold of sorts, even tried to have a contract signed for it.

Again, OSHA can use the existing standards that pertain to employers, what I am talking about is not allowing them in at all, any more then they already are in.

They did not recognize the logging industry, until a short time ago, now they have all kinds of requirements on loggers.

OSHA will not prevent the motoring public from running over towers, heck they not stopping them from running over highway workers, or highway contractors.

Our number one threat is the motoring public, not chains, straps, lights, shackles or any other tools we use. It is Joe head up butt driving 70 plus MPH.

I will do my part to keep them out, and also at the same time do my part to work on the motorist.



Towtrk1 said:

In my eyes, OSHA is nothing more, realistically speaking, than an Advisory board. Like Mike said, they have all the rules they can think of, and even some to cover the ones they didnt think of yet.
My opinion, OSHA will not get any further involved in our industry than where the rotators come into play. Simply because those, in CT anyway, and other parts of the country, want rotators to be classified as cranes. OSHA looks closely at the crane industry! If towers want rotators to be classified the same as cranes, I think OSHA will step in and say, "okay, you wanna be a crane, fine. This is how cranes play the game and so will you or else."... end of story, end of involvement in towing.
They're not going to worry too much about the little guy towing cars and trucks off the highway. Maybe some involvement in the HD wreck scenes, but nothing more. Comparative to the 'J-walkers' down the street from the drug dealers. Who are the police paying more attention to?

OSHA is worthy of keeping a half hearted eye on , but nothing to get wound up about.


Hartland Service said:


We will agree to disagree......advisory boards can not take my money.

Also, not sure if you caught it, but why would you want to sign a contract with OSHA, what good will it do, or why should we?

In the big picture OSHA has bigger fish to fry I agree, but here in Vermont we have our own State Level OSHA, called VOSHA, and they enfore OSHA rules.

If OSHA has no rules on towing industry, then why should we give them a chance to get in?

Hello I am from the Government, and we are here to help you, good clue to run far and run fast.............



Towbully said:

Something else to consider is that not all states are OSHA regulated at all.


Towtrk1 said:

Believe me, I am not for OSHA doing anything with me. I can police myself better than they can, trust me. And as far as signing anything, I don't sign a damn thing except my time card and my certification cards.
Personally, I'm not going to worry about them. They're not going to regulate us anymore than we regulate ourselves. And we 've all seen just how good we are at that. I say "we", speaking as an industry in whole.


mrdmrd said:

Good morning Jeff:

The one thing we can agree on regarding OSHA regulations is that "less is more". If OSHA were to attempt to establish new rules, they would have to go through the same rulemaking process as other Federal agencies. There would be public notice of any new rules and an opportunity to comment. I am sure any such proposal would be fully scrutinized by the industry.

You are right about OSHA not preventing the motoring public from running over towers. Its not their job. There job is to regulate employers of tow truck drivers to make sure they take every precaution to protect the safety and health of their drivers whether its a matter of roadside safety, shop safety, etc. I believe you to also be correct in your assessment that we need to work on the motoring public. I too worry about the careless and aggressive behavior of some drivers. I don't worry about OSHA.



January 2010 TowZone said:

Back in 2002, 2003, 2004 etc. The talk on the board was not invoicing and training it was OHSA. There were those that stated the more you stir up OHSA the harder it is going to become to do business. Any Updates, kinda reminds me of stirring up the Crane Industry and now the Insurance Industry. Sometime I think we as an industry just want some other group to recognize the towing industry. Then when they do we get regulations and when they do many feel neglected. Wow, I enjoy bring topics back around.


tator said:

There is a member here who has had his chains and straps checked on scene before. Maybe he can come forward.


Freelance66 said:

Nothing here.

As I remember that post back then there were at least one tower whom made a mistake and wanted everyone else to conform to his way of "protection". Since here he wasn't taken too seriously the talk went to mandatory enforcement.

Last I heard that is where it ended. Locally there are more than enough industrial "accidents" last few years OSHA opened up a local office, but I have never seen or heard of them except on the news at a major factory incident......


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