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.


May 26, 1981

Mr. Charles A. Carlsson
B11.3 Committee
Carrier Corporation
P.O. Box 4800
Syracuse, New York 13221

Dear Mr. Carlsson:

This is in response to a request from a member of the ANSI B11.3 Committee, and describes the manner in which OSHA provides for suitable applications of the ANSI B11.3 specification standard.

OSHA requirements for safeguarding mechanical power press brakes are contained in 29 CFR 1910.212, general requirements for all machines. Paragraph 1910.212(a)(3)(ii) specifically provides that point of operation guarding shall be in conformity with any appropriate standards. The ANSI B11.3-1973 is currently used by OSHA as the appropriate standard regarding power press brakes. The ANSI B11.3 Committee has also published a draft revision dated November 1978, which provides even greater guidance, and is also used by OSHA as a reference when inspecting power press brakes.

As you can see, although OSHA has not and is unlikely to promulgate a specific technical standard for safeguarding power press brakes, the performance standard delineated by 29 CFR 1910.212 is applicable and mandates employers to provide safeguarding. Power press brakes are regulated under 29 CFR 1910.212 and actively enforced by OSHA.

OSHA Instruction STD 1-12.12, issued October 26, 1976, copy enclosed, further discusses power press brake point of operation safeguarding.

If we may be of further assistance, please call or write.


Bruce Hillenbrand
Deputy Director,
Federal Compliance and State Programs

[Corrected 4/7/2009]