Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

OSHA requirements are set by statute, standards and regulations. Our interpretation letters explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances, but they cannot create additional employer obligations. This letter constitutes OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to OSHA rules. Also, from time to time we update our guidance in response to new information. To keep apprised of such developments, you can consult OSHA's website at

May 14, 1976

Mr. Thomas Wunderlich
Hot End Superintendent
C-E Glass
P.O. Box 268
Cinnaminson, New Jersey 08077

Dear Mr. Wunderlich:

This is in response to your letter dated April 5, 1976, in which you request a variance form Section 1910.212(a)(3)(iii) Machine Guarding, Point of Operation Guarding, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

In your operation you are using a straight line pull cutoff saw equipped with a diamond tip blade for cutting firebrick. You state that the upper portion of the blade is guarded and although the lower or cutting edge is not guarded the proper training and usage provides safe employment for your employees.

A careful study has been made of your request and we have concluded that a hazard does exist when cutting is conducted without the necessary guarding. The primary purpose of the guarding is to protect the operator from pieces of a broken blade, flying material, and inadvertent contact with the blade with any part of the body.

We suggest you investigate the feasibility of installing a hinged (floating) hood guard for this operation. These guards are relatively simple to fabricate and are often readily available from the various saw manufacturers.

The requirements of 29 CFR 1905.11(b)(4) are that the conditions, practices, means, methods, operations, or processes used or proposed to be used would provide employment and places of employment to employees which are as safe and healthful as those required by the standard from which a variance is sought.

It appears that you are requesting an exemption from the standard rather than meeting the requirements for a variance. This is not permitted. Your request for a variance from Section 1910.212(a)(3)(iii) is denied without prejudice to the filing of another application.

Affected employees and their authorized representatives shall be notified of the denial of your application in the same manner they were informed of your request for a variance.

Any further questions you may have regarding this matter may be addressed to our Camden Area Office, U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA, 519 Federal Street, Room 408, Camden, New Jersey 08101, telephone 609-757-5181.


Barry J. White
Associate Assistant Secretary
for Regional Programs