Presses » Foot Control

Foot controls allow the worker to manually activate the press cycle by pressing down on a foot switch or pedal, leaving the hands free during the press stroke. Foot controls do not intrinsically separate the operator's hands from the machine's point of operation during the operating cycle; therefore, power presses with foot controls must be protected by safeguarding devices not always directly linked to machine operation.

Safeguarding devices (such as barriersgates, and pullouts) may have interlocks capable of controlling initiation of the stroke. However, it also may be possible to operate the press with safeguards removed or modified so that they do not function as intended. This poses several operator risks, which are minimized by regular inspections and applicable regulations.

Potential Hazards

  • Foot switches can be inadvertently activated while the workers' hands are at the point of operation.

  • The area on or around the foot pedal may be slippery.


Foot control
  • Manually fed mechanical power presses must incorporate a single-stroke (or anti-repeat) feature that allows the clutch to engage and the press to cycle only once each time the foot control is depressed. [29 CFR 1910.217(b)(3)(i)]

  • The foot pedal must be protected from unintended operation. [29 CFR 1910.217(b)(4)(i)]

  • A non-slip pad must be firmly attached to the foot pedal. [29 CFR 1910.217(b)(4)(ii)]

  • The pedal return device must be a compression spring and one that will prevent interleaving spring coils (such as double compression spring). [29 CFR 1910.217(b)(4)(iii)]

  • Foot controls should be used with point-of-operation safeguards that cannot be easily bypassed or misadjusted.

  • Interlocking safeguards should be considered so that the foot control is inoperable when the safeguards are not functioning.

  •  Guarded foot pedal

    An ergonomically correct, sitting work position, if possible, is preferred over a standing position if a foot control is used.

  • To reduce strain on the foot, a foot rest should be provided near the pedal.

  • Riding the pedal (keeping the foot on the pedal without actually depressing it) is hazardous, and standard operating procedures should note this unacceptable work practice.

  • The rate at which presses are being cycled should be monitored periodically to ensure that operators are not working at a pace that leads to inadvertent pressing of the foot pedal.