Archive Notice - OSHA Archive

NOTICE: This is an OSHA Archive Document, and may no longer represent OSHA Policy. It is presented here as historical content, for research and review purposes only.

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

September 1, 1978

Edward R. Killam, President
ECHR Association
1329 E. Street, N.W., Suite 543
Washington, D.C. 20004

Dear Mr. Killam:

This is in response to your letter concerning the use of steel mesh gloves by meat cutters at both packing plant and retail levels.

The purpose of Program Directive #100-49 was to clarify the application of the personal protective equipment standard, 29 CFR 1910.132(a) to the cutting hazard found in the meat departments of retail food stores.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration determined after consultations with labor and management representatives that meatcutters should not be required to wear protective gloves, where they are exposed to job demands which require frequent removal and replacement of gloves. The aforemention flexibility permits the retail meatcutter who does little boning and breakdown work, not to use the wire mesh glove, because of the limited employee exposure.

Employers are required to assure that appropriate personal protective equipment is used by employees engaged in any work with knives and are exposed to the hazard of cuts to their hand or hands, such as the fish filleting operations.

If I can be of further assistance please feel free to contact me.


Donald E. Mackenzie,
Director of Field Coordination