The issue that was brought up was covering up the strobe light on an aerial lift. The employees in question were performing work with lasers, so they felt the strobe light affected their work with the lasers. Their solution was to cover the light during the laser operations. The issue arose when they did not feel like they needed to uncover the light when they were not performing work with the lasers.
In response to this issue, here is how OSHA regulates this: OSHA currently does not have a regulation that regulates this, but rather defers to manufacturers’ recommendations for the equipment. Based on the OSHA’s inspectors’ policies, as long as the machine has a functional audio alarm in use, the light is considered a secondary alarm system. In this scenario it is considered acceptable per OSHA to cover the light.
With that being said, there are a few limitations. Obviously, the need for the audio alarm is paramount to being able to do this. If the audio alarm is non-functional for whatever reason, the light becomes the primary warning device and is therefore required to be visible. Also, OSHA’s regulations can always be superseded with more stringent policies from the company and the client. It might be a good idea to ask what the company and client opinions of this action are before allowing it to happen.
*Unless specific citations are shown, all answers are based on interpretations provided by authorized officials. As such, all information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed.