[Federal Register: June 20, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 119)]
[Rules and Regulations]
DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
Mine Safety and Health Administration
30 CFR Parts 56 and 57
RIN 1219-AA98 (Phase 6)
Seat Belts for Off-Road Work Machines and Wheeled Agricultural
Tractors at Metal and Nonmetal Mines
AGENCY: Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA), Labor.
ACTION: Direct final rule; confirmation of effective date.
SUMMARY: MSHA issued a direct final rule to update its requirements for
operator restraint systems (seat belts) for off-road work machines and
wheeled agricultural tractors at metal and nonmetal mines. Two
interested parties submitted comments raising issues outside the scope
of the rulemaking. MSHA has determined that the comments submitted are
not ``significant adverse comments'' and do not support withdrawal of
the direct final rule. This document confirms the effective date for
MSHA's direct final rule.
EFFECTIVE DATE: June 20, 2003.
The incorporation by reference of certain publications in this rule
is approved by the Director of the Federal Register as of June 20,
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marvin W. Nichols, Director; Office of
Standards, Regulations, and Variances, MSHA; Phone: 202-693-9442; FAX:
202-693-9441; E-mail: Nichols-Marvin@dol.gov.
I. Summary of Direct Final Rule
On April 21, 2003, MSHA issued a direct final rule (68 FR 19344) to
update the Agency's requirements for operator restraint systems (seat
belts) for off-road work machines and wheeled agricultural tractors at
metal and nonmetal mines. The final rule requires seat belts for off-
road work machines to meet the requirements of the Society of
Automotive Engineers' (SAE) consensus standard SAE J386, Operator
Restraint System for Off-Road Work Machines (1985, 1993, or 1997), as
applicable. It also requires seat belts for wheeled agricultural
tractors to meet the requirements of SAE J1194, Roll-Over Protective
Structures (ROPS) for Wheeled Agricultural Tractors (1983, 1989, 1994,
or 1999), as applicable. The direct final rule makes compliance easier
and reduces burden for mine operators by allowing them to use the
operator restraint systems provided by manufacturers on new equipment,
when they comply with more recent revisions of the incorporated SAE
standards. These more recent revisions reflect advances in seat belt
design and materials. The direct final rule does not reduce protection
MSHA determined that this rulemaking was suitable for a direct
final rule because we did not expect that updating the metal and
nonmetal seat belt standards, to include the revised SAE consensus
standards, would elicit any significant adverse comments. The preamble
to the direct final rule explained that--
A significant adverse comment is one that explains (1) why the
direct final rule is inappropriate, including challenges to the
rule's underlying premise or approach, or (2) why the direct final
rule will be ineffective or unacceptable without a change.
II. Discussion of Comments on Seat Belt Requirements
MSHA received two comments on its direct final rule. Both comments
suggest other seat belt standards for MSHA's consideration. MSHA fully
considered both comments and determined that they were not
``significant adverse comments.'' These comments can be viewed on
MSHA's Web site at http://www.msha.gov/currentcomments.asp.
One comment suggests that the direct final rule incorporate SAE
J2292, Combination Pelvic/Upper Torso (Type 2) Operator Restraint
Systems for Off-Road Work Machines. SAE J2292 is an Information Report,
not a consensus standard. It provides guidance on three and four-point
pelvic and upper torso operator restraint systems. MSHA does not
require combination pelvic/upper torso operator restraint systems. SAE
J2292 testing and performance criteria for the pelvic restraint portion
of the operator restraint system, however, relies on SAE J386, the
industry consensus standard incorporated into the direct final rule.
MSHA determined that the comment is not a significant adverse comment
because SAE J2292 relies on the same testing and performance criteria
used in SAE J386 and requires seat belt assemblies to be labeled to
indicate compliance with J386/J2292. This comment does not challenge
the underlying premise of the direct final rule and there is no
indication in the comment that the direct final rule would be
ineffective or unacceptable without the change.
A second comment suggests that MSHA standards incorporate the
Department of Transportation (DOT), National Highway Traffic Safety
Administration's (NHTSA) performance specifications for seat belts.
MSHA determined that this was not a significant adverse comment because
MSHA's standard, 30 CFR 56/57.14131, addresses seat belts for off-road
trucks and NHTSA's standard, 49 CFR 571.209, applies to over-the-road
``passenger cars, multipurpose passenger vehicles, trucks, and buses''
(49 CFR 571.209 S2). The comment is beyond the scope of this
rulemaking, does not explain why the direct final rule is
inappropriate, does not challenge the rule's underlying premise, and
does not explain why the direct final rule would be ineffective or
unacceptable without a change.
Dated: June 17, 2003.
John R. Caylor,
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Labor for Mine Safety and Health.
[FR Doc. 03-15695 Filed 6-19-03; 8:45 am]
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