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 Standards Board Approves Tractor Carrier Rule

At it's August 20 meeting, the Cal/OSHA Standards Board approved a regulation permitting in-field use of tractor-mounted personnel carriers, officially designated Agricultural Personnel Transport Carriers by the Board.Tractor-mounted personnel carriers have been used for more than 25 years in the southern Central Valley and the Central Coast for the purpose of transporting irrigators in a transportation unit usually mounted to the three-point hitch on the same tractor towing a trailer carrying irrigation pipe.  This practice spares workers from walking long distances from pipe storage areas to fields, and in fields following the tractor towing the pipe trailer as the tractor moves through the field to distribute irrigation pipe.

The regulation was the result of years of consideration by the Standards Board.  The final rule places significant limits on the use of tractor-mounted personnel carriers including:

  • In-field use only in low-lying crops; no use on farm roads.  Farm Bureau and others had advocated for farm-road use to facilitate movement irrigators along with irrigation pipe from storage facilities to field; 

  • Tractor carriers may only be occupied by workers in the furrowed area of the field; 

  • The slope of field may not exceed 5%; 

  • Occupants of the tractor carrier must exit the carrier when the tractor turns at the end of a row; 

  • Occupants must exit the carrier when the tractor passes within 10 feet of a ditch, retention pond, unprotected edge of an embankment of levee, culvert or other overturn hazard. 

 You can review the final version of the tractor personnel carriers rule at this link