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 http://www.osha.gov.

March 5, 1980

Mr. Stephen J. Dickmann
General Counsel
Nelson Industries, Inc.
P.O. Box 428
Stoughton, Wisconsin 53589

Dear Mr. Dickmann:

Assistant Eula Bingham has asked me to respond to your letter dated February 8, 1980, requesting a permanent variance from Section 1910.217(c)(1)(i) Mechanical Power Presses - Point of Operation Guarding, of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards.

You have stated that you operate mechanical power presses to size the ends of metal tubing. These tubes range from approximately 10" to 50" in length and from approximately 1-1/2" to 5" in diameter. You further state that the point of operation on your presses are currently guarded on all sides by hair pin guards. You insert the tubes to be sized into an opening in the hair pin guard which is slightly larger than the diameter of the material being fed. The opening is approximately 7- 1/2" to 9-1/2" from the point of operation depending on the press. You have requested a variance on the basis that the opening on your hair pin guard to insert the material does not meet the time and distance requirements of Table 0-10 of the standard.

OSHA Program Directive STP 1-12.21, Mechanical Power Presses authorizes in Section 4.b. a guard or fixed barrier attached to the frame, die, or base of a press and prevents the operator from putting his hands or fingers into the point of operation even when the press is not cycling (copy enclosed). If your hair pin guard is attached to the frame and fully encloses the point of operation (danger zone) and the opening is adjustable to the size of the material being fed to the press and the adjustable guard returns to the closed position when the material is removed from the press, you will be meeting the intent of Section 1910.217(c)(1)(i). Therefore, a variance is unnecessary.

Affected employees and their authorized representatives shall be informed of this clarification in the same manner they were informed of your request for a variance.

Our Madison District Office is in agreement with this clarification. Any further questions concerning the matter should be directed to Robert Levand, District Supervisor, U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA, Suite 270, 2934 Fish Hatchery Road, Madison, Wisconsin 53713.

No further action will be taken on your request for a variance. If I can be of further assistance, please contact my office at (202) 523-7144.


James J. Concannon Director
Office of Variance Determination