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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

June 12, 1978



THRU:             DONALD E. MACKENZIE Field Coordinator

FROM:             BRUCE HILLENBRAND Acting Director Federal Compliance
                  and State Programs

SUBJECT:          Retention Period for Inspection and Maintenance
                  Records as Required by 29 CFR 1910.217(e)(1)(i)
                  and (e)(1)(ii)

This is in response to your memo of March 23, 1978, which requested guidance on the subject standards regarding the retention period for the inspection and maintenance records.

The Office of Safety Standards is presently reviewing the retention of record requirements of the various standards. Until such changes are accomplished, the following may be used as a guideline for compliance with 29 CFR 1910.217(e)(1)(i) and (e)(1)(ii): If an employer retains the last two records of the inspection and maintenance performed on each of his presses then he has complied with the intent of the standards.

A CSHO is authorized to review records which he believes are relevant to the inspection or investigation (29 CFR 1903.3). Usually, this authority is most likely to be exercised during an investigation of a complaint, fatality, or catastrophe to determine whether a violation of the Act or regulations occurred at the time alleged, or at the time of the accident. The employer's failure to maintain pertinent records may lead to the issuance of a citation. Therefore, this determination does not preclude an employer from retaining additional records, if in his judgment he feels they are essential to this operation. This guidance furthers OSHA's "common sense" approach for implementation of the Act and enforcement efforts.