July Web Exclusive! Slow-moving Vehicle and Other Safety Signs


OSHA Standards
For Farmers

Slow-moving Vehicle
and Other Safety Signs

by Chris E. Marsh, M.Ed.

Slow-moving vehicle emblem

        This emblem consists of a fluorescent, yellow-orange triangle, with a dark red reflective border. The yellow-orange fluorescent triangle is a highly visible color for daylight exposure.

        The reflective border defines the shape of the parts of motor vehicle headlights at night. The emblem is intended as a unique identification for, and it shall be used only on vehicles that by design move slowly (25 mph or less) on public roads. The emblem is not a clearance marker for wide machinery, nor is it intended to replace required lighting or marking of slow-moving vehicles. Neither the color film pattern and its dimensions nor the backing shall be altered to permit use of advertising or other markings. The material location, mounting, etc., of the emblem shall be in accordance with the American Society of Agricultural Engineers Emblem for identifying slow-moving vehicles (ASAE R276, 1967, or ASAE S276.2 (ANSI B114.1-1971), which are incorporated by reference.

"Incorporated by reference"
        Incorporated by reference is what OSHA uses to make a safety standard issued by another safety body become part of the OSHA standards. By doing this OSHA does not have to develop their own standard, especially if the other standard is accepted by the U.S. Government, industry and safety persons in various professions. "Incorporated by reference" holds the same legal standing as any OSHA standard.

Agricultural uses of the slow-moving vehicle sign
        There are many pieces of equipment that a farmer might need to use the slow-moving vehicle sign on besides their tractor. Basically, any type of equipment, self-propelled or attached to another piece of equipment, that has to be moved because of size or weight at 25 mph or less. This could be sprayers, harvest machines, tillage equipment, or when moving produce or crops. Inside your fence, you may be OK as far as OSHA goes, but you could still be operating dangerously, and if an accident occurs could mean a visit from OSHA. However, as the standard states, if whatever you drive, pull, tow or otherwise move has to be moved at less than 25 mph on a public road (paved or dirt), you must have this sign attached.

Classification of signs according to use
        Danger signs shall have no variation in the type of design of signs posted to warn of specific dangers and radiation hazards. All employees shall be instructed that danger signs indicate immediate danger and that special precautions are necessary. Caution signs shall be used only to warn against potential hazards or to caution against unsafe practices. All employees shall be instructed that caution signs indicate a possible hazard against which proper precaution should be taken. Safety instruction signs shall be used where there is a need for general instructions and suggestions relative to safety measures.

Biological hazard signs
        The biological hazard warning shall be used to signify the actual or potential presence of a biohazard, and to identify equipment, containers, rooms, materials, experimental animals or combinations thereof that contain, or are contaminated with, viable hazardous agents. To find out if you are using a chemical or other material that may be dangerous to human health, look at and study the MSDS sheet. This will provide the information you need to make sure your employees or other people that may be exposed remain safe.

        The following is my own personal opinion. To my knowledge, it is not a part of OSHA or DOT, but I believe that the time will come that either OSHA or DOT will begin checking trucks and other vehicles that hold insecticides, herbicides or other material with an MSDS that indicates possible harm to humans and will eventually require a placard for each chemical that you carry back to the farm or move from field to field, especially on public roads. Again, this is only my opinion.

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