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Summary of and Guidance for OSHA Safety Requirements for the Trucking Transportation Industry

OSHA Trucking Industry Standards - Regulations and Guidance Manuals

Back to the Main OSHA Page Other OSHA Links

OSHA has jurisdiction over off-highway loading and unloading, such as warehouses, plants, grain handling facilities, retail locations, marine terminals, wharves, piers, and shipyards. DOT has jurisdiction over interstate highway driving, Commercial Driving Licensing (CDL), the hours of service and roadworthiness of the vehicles. EPA has jurisdiction over the natural environment and pollution prevention programs. OSHA has jurisdiction unless preempted by another federal agency such as DOT or EPA, but can only be preempted in a specified activity or task. OSHA has the ultimate responsibility for the safety and health of all employees.

These pages are part of OSHA and industry's commitment to provide employers and trucking workers with information and assistance to help in complying with OSHA and other agency standards to ensure a safe workplace.

The following is an overview of the regulations, training requirements, and other resources:

Other Agency Overview


When another federal agency has regulated a working condition, OSHA is preempted by Section 4(b)1 from enforcing its regulations. For example:

  • The Department of Transportation (DOT) regulates driving over public highways, the health and safety of drivers involving their use of drugs and alcohol, hours of service, and use of seat belts. DOT also regulates the road worthiness of trucks and trailers and has specific requirements for the safe operation of trucks.
  • DOT has jurisdiction over interstate commerce while OSHA has jurisdiction over intrastate commerce except when handling hazardous materials. DOT has issued regulations regarding the shipping, packaging, and handling of these materials. However, if a truck driver becomes an emergency responder in the event of a spill or other disaster, then OSHA has jurisdiction.
  • The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulates flight crews and some other aspects of the safety of ground crews. If there is a clause that covers a working condition in an operational plan negotiated between the carrier and the FAA, the FAA has jurisdiction over that working condition. Otherwise, OSHA covers most of the working conditions of ground crews and baggage handlers.
  • Due to the DOT brake regulation, OSHA does not cite for failure to chock trailer wheels if a vehicle is otherwise adequately secured. DOT's regulation preempts enforcement and DOT has jurisdiction. However, if the vehicle is an intrastate truck, OSHA has jurisdiction. Only another federal agency may preempt OSHA's jurisdiction.

US Department of Transportation

  • US Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT oversees the formulation of national transportation policy and promotes intermodal transportation. Its agencies include: Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Federal Railroad Administration (FRA), Maritime Administration (MARAD), US Coast Guard (USCG), and Transport Security Administration (TSA).

TEA-21, DOT (2002, July), 1 page. The Transportation Equity Act for the Twenty First Century (TEA-21) website is part of the larger FHWA/DOT website and contains information and links about the law and its implications for all the surface transportation programs carried out by the U.S. Department of Transportation. bulletBureau of Transportation Statistics BTS (2003), 2 pages. BTS collects information on transportation and other areas. The Bureau's largest data collection programs are the Commodity Flow Survey and the American Travel Survey, conducted jointly with the Bureau of the Census to identify where freight and people go by all modes of transportation.

Department of Transportation Regulations under Titles 23 and 49

  • Chapter 1, Federal-Aid Highways
  • Chapter 2, Other Highways
  • Chapter 3, General Provisions
  • Chapter 4, Highway Safety
  • Chapter 5, Research and Technology
  • Title 49, Transportation
  • Federal Highway Administration

    • The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) coordinates highway transportation programs in cooperation with states and other partners to enhance the country's safety, economic vitality, quality of life, and the environment. Major program areas include the Federal-Aid Highway Program, which provides federal financial assistance to the states to construct and improve the National Highway System, urban and rural roads, and bridges, and the Federal Lands Highway Program, which provides access to and within national forests, national parks, Indian reservations and other public lands. The FHWA also manages a comprehensive research, development, and technology program.

    Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration

    • The primary mission of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA) is to prevent commercial motor vehicle-related fatalities and injuries. On its website, it has links to its regulations and Regulatory Guidance, a series of frequently asked questions that offer detailed answers for specific situations.

      DOT Rules, Regulations and Regulatory Guidance

      The following is an overview of the major sections of the regulations related to driver safety and health:

      Note: The Regulatory Guidance sections are also included with the regulations. Brief excerpts from DOT definitions of terms, such as "employee" and "employer" that differ substantially from commonly understood OSHA definitions, are also included for clarification.
      bullet49 CFR 325, Compliance with Interstate Motor Carrier Noise Emission Standards. bullet49 CFR 350, Commercial Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. bullet49 CFR 382, Controlled Substances and Alcohol Use and Testing. bullet49 CFR 383, Commercial Driver's License Standards; Requirements and Penalties. bullet49 CFR 385, Safety Fitness Procedures. bullet49 CFR 386, Rules of Practice for Motor Carrier Safety and Hazardous Materials Proceedings. bullet49 CFR 390, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General.

      bulletNote: A self-employed independent owner-operator is covered under the FMCSRs, and defined as an "employee" unlike in OSHA Regulations where a self-employed person is not covered by the OSHA Act and is not considered an "employee".

    390.5, Definitions

    Employee means any individual, other than an employer, who is employed by an employer and who in the course of his or her employment directly affects commercial motor vehicle safety. This term includes a driver of a commercial motor vehicle (including an independent contractor while in the course of operating a commercial motor vehicle), a mechanic, and a freight handler. It does not include an employee of the United States, any state, any political subdivision of a state, or any agency established under a compact between states and approved by the Congress of the United States who is acting within the course of such employment.

    Employer means any person engaged in a business affecting interstate commerce who owns or leases a commercial motor vehicle in connection with that business, or assigns employees to operate it, but such term does not include the United States, any state, any political subdivision of a state, or an agency established under a compact between States approved by the Congress of the United states.

    • 49 CFR 390, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations; General. Regulatory Guidance, 13 pages.
    • 49 CFR 391, Qualifications of Drivers
      • 391.1, Scope of the rules in this part; additional qualifications; duties of carrier drivers
        • (a) The rules in this part establish minimum qualifications for persons who drive commercial motor vehicles as, for, or on behalf of motor carriers. The rules in this part also establish minimum duties of motor carriers with respect to the qualifications of their drivers.
        • (b) A motor carrier who employs himself/herself as a driver must comply with both rules in this part that apply to motor carriers and the rules in this part that apply to drivers.
      • 49 CFR 392, Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles. Every motor carrier, its officers, agents, representatives, and employees responsible for the management, maintenance, operation, or driving of commercial motor vehicles, or the hiring, supervising, training, assigning, or dispatching of drivers, shall be instructed in and comply with the rules in this part.
        • 392.3, Ill or fatigued operator
        • 392.4, Drugs and other substances
        • 392.5, Alcohol prohibition
        • 392.9, Safe Loading
        • 392.10, Railroad grade crossings; stopping required
        • 392.11, Railroad grade crossing; slowing down required
        • 392.14, Hazardous conditions; extreme caution
        • 392.16, Use of seat belts
        • 392.22, Emergency signals; stopped vehicles
        • 392.24, Emergency signals; flame producing
        • 392.33, Obscured lamps or reflectors
        • 392.50, Ignition of fuel; prevention
        • 392.60, Unauthorized persons not to be transported
        • 392.62, Safe operation, buses
        • 392.63, Towing or pushing loaded buses
        • 392.64, Riding within closed vehicles without proper exits
        • 392.66, Carbon monoxide; use of vehicle when detected
        • 392.67, Heater, flame producing; on vehicle in motion
      • 49 CFR 392, Driving of Commercial Motor Vehicles. Regulatory Guidance, 4 pages.
      • 49 CFR 393, Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation. Every employer and employee shall comply and be conversant with the requirements and specifications of this part. No employer shall operate a commercial motor vehicle, or cause or permit it to be operated, unless it is equipped in accordance with the requirements and specifications of this part.
        • 393.9, Lamps operable
        • 393.11, Lighting devices and reflectors
        • 393.19, Requirements for turn signaling systems
        • 393.27, Wiring specifications
        • 393.29, Grounds
        • 393.30, Battery installation
        • 393.31, Overload protective devices
        • 393.32, Detachable electrical connections
        • 393.33, Wiring, installation
        • 393.40, Required brake systems
        • 393.41, Parking brake system
        • 393.42, Brakes required on all wheels
        • 393.43, Breakaway and emergency braking
        • 393.51, Warning devices and gauges
        • 393.65, All fuel systems
        • 393.67, Liquid fuel tanks
        • 393.69, Liquefied petroleum gas systems
        • 393.100, General rules for protection against shifting or falling cargo
        • 393.102, Securement systems
        • 393.104, Blocking and bracing
        • 393.205, Wheels
        • 49 CFR 393, Parts and Accessories Necessary for Safe Operation. Regulatory Guidance, 14 pages.
      • 49 CFR 395, Hours of Service of Drivers
        • 395.1, Scope of rules in this part
        • 395.3, Maximum driving and on duty time
        • 49 CFR 395, Hours of Service of Drivers. Regulatory Guidance, 16 pages.
      • 49 CFR 396, Inspection, Repair, and Maintenance. Every motor carrier, its officers, drivers, agents, representatives, and employees directly concerned with the inspection or maintenance of motor vehicles shall comply and be conversant with the rules of this part.
      • 49 CFR 399, Employee Safety and Health Standards. This subpart prescribes step, handhold, and deck requirements on commercial motor vehicles. These requirements are intended to enhance the safety of motor carrier employees.

      Federal Aviation Administration

      Environmental Protection Agency

      • The mission of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is to protect human health and to safeguard the natural environment - air, water, and land - upon which life depends. The EPA also works with industries and all levels of government in a variety of voluntary pollution prevention programs and energy conservation efforts.
        • Self-Evaluation Tools includes tools such as environmental screening checklists and workbooks that can be used by industry or government officials to screen or evaluate their compliance with EPA's environmental regulations.
          • Environmental Screening Checklist and Workbook for the Trucking Industry. EPA (August, 2000), 655 KB PDF, 103 pages. This checklist and workbook can be used to evaluate a facility's compliance with federal environmental regulations applicable to the trucking industry. The term "facility" refers to, but is not limited to, trucking terminals, truck maintenance shops, etc., that are overseen by owners/operators, managers, field personnel, etc., who engage in trucking operations.

          • Profile of the Ground Transportation Industry: Trucking, Railroad, and Pipeline. EPA Office of Compliance Sector Notebook Project (September, 1997), 412 KB PDF, 45 pages. This sector profile presents comprehensive, common sense environmental protection measures for the trucking industry. For the purposes of this project, the key elements included are: general industry information (economic and geographic); a description of industrial processes; pollution outputs; pollution prevention opportunities; Federal statutory and regulatory framework; compliance history; and a description of partnerships that have been formed between regulatory agencies, the regulated community and the public.

            The trucking industry includes establishments engaged in motor freight transportation and warehousing. This includes local and long-distance trucking or transfer services, and establishments engaged in the storage of farm products, furniture, and other household goods, or commercial goods of any kind. For the purpose of this notebook, the trucking industry also includes the operation of terminal facilities for handling freight, both those with and without maintenance facilities. The trucking SIC sectors covered in this notebook are shown in the following table.

            4212 Local Trucking Without Storage
            4213 Trucking, Except Local
            4214 Local Trucking With Storage
            4215 Courier Services, Except by Air
            4221 Farm Product Warehousing & Storage
            4222 Refrigerated Warehousing & Storage
            4225 General Warehousing & Storage
            4226 Special Warehousing & Storage, NEC (Not Elsewhere Classified)
            4231 Terminal & Joint Terminal Maintenance Facilities for Motor Freight Transportation

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