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.

October 11, 1977

Mr. Vincent G. Biro
President & General Manager
The Biro Manufacturing Company
Marblehead, Ohio 43440

Dear Mr. Biro:

This is in response to your letters of July 19 and 20, 1977, concerning the point of operation guarding on the Biro Power Meat Cutters (bandsaws). This also confirms that a member of my staff and a representative of our Solicitor's Office accompanied your engineer, Mr. John Wonnell, to a local supermarket and observed one of the Biro Bandsaws.

You are aware that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) does not have vertical standards for the Meat Industry, therefore, the General Industry Safety and Health Standards are applicable to the Meat Industry. The general requirements for guarding of machines is contained at 29 CFR 1910.212.

However, the woodworking machinery requirements, 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1), (2), and (3) contain specific guarding requirements for bandsaws. Essentially, all bandsaws operate in the same manner, therefore, all bandsaws which are guarded to meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1), (2) and (3), meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) and (3)(ii).

It has been concluded that if during the operation of the bandsaw the safeguards provided by your company with respect to the working portion of the saw blade and the band wheels together with the tension device are used, maintained, and properly adjusted to insure no portion on the saw blade is exposed except the working portion between the bottom of the guide rolls (gage) and the table, it meets the intent of 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(1) and (3)(iii).

It should be noted that the equipment manufacturers should design equipment that complies with the OSHA standards. However, under the OSHA Act, the employer that purchases the equipment has the responsibility for assuring that the equipment complies with the OSHA standards and that the equipment is operated with the guards provided and maintained in a safe condition.

I hope the preceding information will be helpful to you. Thank you for your concern and continuing interest in occupational safety and health.


John K. Barto, Chief
Division of Occupational Safety Programming