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.

April 8, 1983

 
MEMORANDUM FOR: JAMES W. STANLEY
ACTING REGIONAL ADMINISTRATOR
 
THRU: JOHN B. MILES, DIRECTOR
OFFICE OF FIELD COORDINATION
 
FROM: BRUCE HILLENBRAND, ACTING DIRECTOR
FEDERAL COMPLIANCE AND STATE PROGRAMS
 
SUBJECT: Use of "Light Duty" Pneumatic Tackers (Staplers) Without Pressure Release Levers.
 

In further response to your telecon of March 17, 1983, we provide the following clarification regarding light duty pneumatic operated hand held tackers (staplers) which are not equipped with a safety release lever to prevent fastener ejection.

These tools are generally used during furniture manufacturing for applications such as: fastening of back panels and for mattress box spring construction. They are designed to fit into areas where space is limited.

Existing OSHA standards, such as 29 CFR 1910.243(b), do not address the operation of staplers requiring less than 100 PSI pressure. Since these light duty pneumatically actuated tools require less than 100 PSI for proper operation, the use of these tools shall be acceptable if:

1. A pressure regulator or other means is provided to assure that the tool operating air pressure does not exceed 100 PSI or the manufacturer's recommendation, whichever is lower.

2. The staples or fasteners are "light duty" type and do no exceed #18 gauge, .040 inch (American Wire Gage B. & S.) as specified by the tool manufacturers.

3. The operator and other persons in the area, within range of a flying staple (approximately 20 feet) are wearing personal protective eye equipment (safety glasses).

In general industry applications, when these tools are observed to be in use and the above procedure have not been adhered to, Area Directors should consider the procedures of CPL 2.50 for issuance of a 5(a)(1) violation, and where eye and face protective equipment is not in use, a violation of 1910.133 is applicable.

It is further recommended that employers be advised to:

1. Assure that a pressurized tool is never left unattended.

2. Provide a quick disconnect coupling, of the shut off type, at or adjacent to the tool for easy use of the operator and for tool depressurization when unattended.

3. Provide full face protection of operators and persons in close proximity to stapler operations.

4. Provide appropriate training and supervision of stapler tool operators.