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 8, 1976

Mr. H.D. Sullivan
Chief Engineer,
Product Safety
International Harvester
7 South 600 County Line Road
Hinsdale, Illinois 60521

Dear Mr. Sullivan:

This is in response to your correspondence of May 7, 1976, regarding clarification of certain agricultural farm equipment standards. Your correspondence included questions and photographers of examples of your major problems areas. In addition, it confirms a telephone conversation with a member of my staff.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) in the enforcement of standards and in administering the Act is limited in scope to the employer-employee relationship and employee exposure at the workplace. There is an exception to this relationship as applied to the agricultural employer. OSHA does not regard members of the immediate family of the farm employer as employees for the purpose of the "employer" definition.

The preceding paragraph indicated OSHA's jurisdiction is somewhat limited in scope, and does not include the manufacturer's responsibility or liability relating to a particular product.

You indicate two major problems areas in 29 CFR 1928.57, Guarding of Farm Field Equipment, Farmstead Equipment, and Cotton Gins, and identify them as (A) and (B). The following comments are offered with the same identification:

(A) 29 CFR 1928.57(a)(9), Guarding by location states: "A component is guarded by location during operation, maintenance, or servicing when, because of its location, no employee can inadvertently come in contact with the hazard during such operation, maintenance, or servicing."

29 CFR 1928.57(a)(9) is a "definition" standard that is used when the employer uses "guarding by location" as a method of guarding to protect employees from coming into contact with moving machinery parts.

The term "maintenance, or servicing" in 29 CFR 1928.57 (a)(9) applies to reasonably predictable maintenance operations. One factor which would be considered in defining "reasonable predictability" would be the nature and clarity of instructions given to employees. However, other factors, e.g., those associated with practical experience would also have to be considered.

An examination of 29 CFR 1928.57(a), General, (copy enclosed) indicated the employee is also protected by the following standards while maintenance or servicing is being performed:

29 CFR 1928.57(a)(6) Operating Instructions. 29 CFR 1928.57(a)(11) Servicing and Maintenance.

(B) In regards to 29 CFR 1928.57(b)(2), Other Power Transmission Components, your guarding of flywheels appears to meet the requirements of this standard. Your photographs indicate no exposure spokes of the flywheel, and the flywheel presents a smooth rim, edge, and side.

In addition, members of my staff agree with the interpretations expressed in your letter, paragraphs (A)1, 2, & 3, and (B) 1, 2, & 3.

This correspondence can not be construed as either an approval or an endorsement of your product.

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


Barry J. White
Associate Assistance Secretary
for Regional Programs