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.

November 10, 1976

Honorable Jennings Randolph
United States Senate
Washington, D. C. 20510

Dear Senator Randolph:

This is in response to your correspondence of August 5, 1976, which transmitted a letter dated July 19, 1976, from Mr. Vernon E. Dudley, Gala Industries, Inc., South Charleston, West Virginia. Mr. Dudley expressed his continued displeasure with the procedures utilized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

As noted in my previous letter to you dated July 8, 1976, on this matter, Mr. Dudley is correct in that press brakes are specifically excluded from one portion of the OSHA standards. This exclusion is true, however, only for 29 CFR 1910.217. Press brakes are not excluded from 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) which covers point of operation guarding, and OSHA has consistently and uniformly enforced this regulation in regard to unguarded press brakes.

Several methods of guarding have been used successfully on this type of machine and OSHA has provided the company with publications illustrating some methods of guarding. The suggestions and literature sent to the company by the Area Office were only suggestions in OSHA's attempt to assist the employer in safeguarding his employees from a hazard that can cause them serious bodily harm.

In addition, we recognize that physical guarding cannot always be accomplished on press brakes and is not always necessary, depending on the type of work being performed. One example would be when the operator is holding the material at the outer edge by hand in the press brake. Then the distance of the operator from the point of operation would prevent any part of his body from being placed into the danger zone. Another example would be where the operator's controls are placed or situated at a safe distance which would also prevent the operator from placing any part of his body into the point of operation danger zone.

In regard to the company's request for an informal conference, the following information is again provided. The Richmond Area Office had received a letter from the company requesting an informal conference, but before the Area Office could act on the request, it received another letter two days later, giving a notice of contest to the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission. In any event, the Area Office was requested to review this matter and provide the company any assistance possible, consistent with the law, in the resolution of this situation. The Area Director was in telephone contact with the company, in an effort to assist in resolving the problem of safeguarding the press brake. In addition, the Regional Solicitor's Office in Philadelphia offered to meet with the company and this offer was accepted. As noted in Mr. Dudley's letter, a meeting involving company officials and OSHA officials was held May 26, 1976, in Roanoke, Virginia. We, too, are hopeful that through this meeting and subsequent discussions, an equitable solution has been reached regarding Gala Industries' concerns and that the matter can now be considered closed.

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


Morton Corn
Assistant Secretary of Labor