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.

June 9, 1981

Mr. Miles Stonebraker
Rural Route 1
West Lebanon, Indiana 47991

Dear Mr. Stonebraker:

This in response to your request for information regarding power press brakes.

Power press brakes are required to be guarded under the regulations of 29 CFR 1910.212, copy enclosed. OSHA presently refers to the ANSI B11.3-1973 standard regarding safeguarding this machine as it represents the current state of the Art, and the methods recommended by ANSI are acceptable to OSHA. A copy of the ANSI standard may be obtained from:

The American National Standards Institute, Inc.
1430 Broadway
New York, New York 10018

Exposure to the point of operation (die) for pieces as small as you discussed is not permitted by OSHA. The employer is obliged to provide appropriate safeguarding at least to the extent recommended by the ANSI B11.3 -1973 standard. Where such safeguarding is not possible, then the applicability of the press brake to the manufacturing process is considered erroneous and a misapplication of the machine.

Various methods are available for safeguarding the point of operation on press brakes. Some of the safeguarding techniques are described in the OSHA publication, Concepts and Techniques of Machine Safeguarding, OSHA 3067, copy enclosed. Additionally, detailed discussion and specifications for safeguarding press brakes are presented in the November 1978 draft revision of the ANSI B11.3.

You may desire to recommend to your supervisors that they avail themselves of a free consultation inspection of the operations. Such an inspection would not subject your employer to citations, but would provide for the installation of proper safeguards and the implementation of safe practices. Local consultation service may be requested from:

Bureau of Safety Education and Training
Indiana Division of Labor
1013 State Office Building
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Telephone: 317-633-5845

On the other hand, you may choose to file a complaint with OSHA. A formal signed complaint to OSHA could result in an inspection of the press brake operations and where violations are determined to exist the employer would be required to correct them. The name and address of the OSHA area office in your locale is as follows:

U.S. Department of Labor - OSHA
U.S. Post Office and Courthouse - Room 423
46 East Ohio Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204
Telephone: 317-269-7290

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


John K. Barto Chief,
Division of Occupational Safety Programming