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 https://www.osha.gov.

July 2, 1976

Mr. T. H. Morrell
Vice President, Engineering
Owatonna Manufacturing Company, Inc.
Hi-way 46 North
Owatonna, Minnesota 55060

Dear Mr. Morrell:

Assistant Secretary Morton Corn has asked me to respond to your letter of May 13, 1976 (copy enclosed), regarding clarification of certain standards in 29 CFR 1928.57. Guarding of Farm Field Equipment, Farmstead Equipment, and Cotton Gins. In addition, this letter confirms a phone conversation with you by a member of my staff.

On page one of your correspondence, comments on 29 CFR 1928.57(a)(8)(ii) and (b)(1)(ii) are presented. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers the following clarifications on these two standards:

29 CFR 1928.57(a)(8)(ii): the term, "--- falling against the guard, ---- "would include vertical as well as lateral forces that may be exerted upon the guard. Guards, particularly those located close to the ground, should be able to withstand vertical forces resulting from an employee falling vertically on the guard. The actual force exerted upon the guard would vary due to the location of the guard in relation to the location of the employee who might fall on it.

If there is no chance of a vertical fall on guard, then the guard would not have to be designed to withstand a vertical fall. In short, guards need to be designed to withstand the force which one would exert on it in a reasonably predictable accident.

29 CFR 1928.57(b)(1)(ii): "---. The master shield shall have sufficient strength to prevent permanent deformation of the shield when a 250 pound operator mounts or dismounts the tractor using the shield as a step." In this case the force exerted on the shield is usually downward (vertical).

On page two to your correspondence, you offer two interpretations of "guarding by location," (29 CFR 1928.57(a)(9)). Your interpretations may be applicable and correct in some situations and not in others. OSHA offers the following clarification on your two interpretations:

An examination of 29 CFR 1928.57(a)(7)(ii) reveals that a guardrail or fence is to be used as a method of guarding only when a guard or shield or guarding by location is infeasible.

"Guarding by location" as defined in 29 CFR 1928.57(a)(9) is intended to mean that no employee, including but not limited to the operator, can inadvertently (unintentionally) come in contact with the hazard during the normal course of his duties.

There may be components of a machine located more than 3 feet from the outside of the machine which are guarded by locations because they are covered by other parts of the machine or otherwise inaccessible. However, there may be components which, even though located more than 3 feet from an employee, are not guarded by location because these parts are exposed and are in areas of the machine into which an employee might reach during the course of his duties,

On page three of your correspondence, you offer an interpretation of "full guarding." OSHA offers the following comments on this interpretation:

OSHA agrees with your interpretation of "full guarding", as long as there is no exposed shaft between master shield and the implement power take-off (PTO) shield and the strength requirements are met.

If I may be of any further assistance, please feel free to contact me.


Bert M. Concklin
Deputy Assistant Secretary