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.

Mr. Thomas C. Clinton
Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, & Howlett
Suite 800
171 Monroe Avenue, N.W.
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

Dear Mr. Clinton:

This is in response to your letter dated February 21, addressed to Mr. William Funcheon, Area Director at the Lansing, Michigan, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Area Office. A response was sent to you by the Chicago Regional Office on March 9. As you needed further clarification, your letter was subsequently forwarded to this office. Your letter requests interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(i) and 1910.263(l)(9)(ii) standards pertaining to the inspection of bakery ovens.

The OSHA standard at 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii) specifies that annual inspections of bakery ovens shall be conducted by representatives of the oven manufacturers. Since the impact of a literal interpretation could be profound, OSHA feels that such inspections may be accomplished by qualified representatives of an oven manufacturer who are knowledgeable of the various safety considerations and who by training and experience are capable of verifying the safe operational characteristics of the equipment.

OSHA interprets "Safety Devices", as referred to in 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9) (ii), as fail-safe devices and as components of safety control systems installed to ensure that explosions or explosive conditions are not developed within an oven. Safety devices are installed to automatically shut down the oven in a safe manner in the event of an occurrence of a hazardous condition. As the safety controls installed on the various ovens vary, a list of typical safety controls and devices presented in Table 4-5A (enclosed) of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Fire Protection Handbook (Fourteenth Edition) may further clarify your questions on safety devices.

Your letter states that some of your clients and customers believe that barrier guards are protecting devices. OSHA interprets "Protecting Devices" in this context as devices which protect employees from fire and explosion hazards in the event a safety device as defined above does not eliminate development of a hazardous condition. Examples of protecting devices are explosion vents, automatic fire sprinklers, etc.

As indicated by Mr. James Kontos, Acting Assistant Regional Administrator, Chicago Regional Office, in his letter dated March 9, "Safety Guards" are protective barriers installed to safeguard employees when an oven is in operation and are not considered to be protecting devices as specified under 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(i).

Additional information pertaining to ovens is detailed in NFPA 86 (1985 edition) and Chapter 4 of the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook, Fourteenth Edition.

If we may be of further assistance, please contact us. Thank you for your interest in safety and health.


Patricia K. Clark, Acting Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs



DATE:              April 7,  1989

MEMORANDUM FOR:    Thomas J. Shepich, Director
                  Directorate of Compliance Programs

THROUGH:           Leo Carey, Director Office of Field programs

FROM:              Michael G. Connors Regional Administrator

SUBJECT:           Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, & Howlett Attorneys-At-Law
                  Interpretation of 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii)

Attached is a letter from the above-named attorney's office. They are requesting an interpretation of our regulations regarding periodic inspections of bakery ovens for their client, APV Baker, Inc., a bakery oven manufacturer.

The regulation 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii) requires all safety devices be inspected not less than once a year by representatives of the oven manufacturers. The source of the regulation was ANSI Z50.1-1947, "Safety Code for Bakery Equipment,"

We have reviewed the most recent publication of ANSI Z50.1, which was published in 1983. The ANSI Standard now allows the plant management or the authority having jurisdiction, or both, to prescribe the time interval at which the equipment and safety controls be tested for service reliability. ANSI/NFPA 86A-1977 is listed as a guide for establishing an inspection schedule. As you know, if the workplace is in compliance with current industry consensus standards, a violation of the applicable OSHA regulation may be considered to be de minimus. Therefore, the following two issues require clarification:

(1) Is the oven manufacturer responsible for annual inspections of safety devices on ovens?

(2) What is OSHA's definition of a "safety device" as it relates to this regulation?

We have informed the oven's manufacturer's attorney, Mr. Clinton, that his letter has been forwarded to the National Office, and you will be responding to him directly. We would appreciate a copy of your response.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter. If there are any questions, please contact the ARA for Technical Support in Region V at FTS 353-2220.


April 6, 1989

Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, & Howlett
Suite 800
171 Monroe Avenue, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

ATTN: Mr. Thomas C. Clinton

Dear Mr. Clinton:

This is in response to your letter dated February 21, 1989 requesting an interpretation and clarification of the safety devices required by 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii) for bakery ovens.

Mr. Kontos, Safety Engineer, responded to your questions in a letter dated March 9, 1989. Subsequently, you have requested further clarification. Due to the National scope of these issues, we have decided to forward your letter to the National Office, and have requested that they respond to your inquiries directly. A copy of the letter is enclosed.

Thank you for your continued interest in safety and health.


Nancy M. Quick
Acting ARA Technical Support


March 9, 1989

Varnum, Riddering, Schmidt, & Howlett
Suite 800
171 Monroe Avenue, N.W.
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

ATTN: Mr. Jinya Chen

Re: 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii)

Dear Mr. Chen:

This letter is in response to your letter of February 21, 1989 which was addressed to Mr. William Funcheon, Jr., Area Director of our Lansing, Michigan OSHA Area Office. He has forwarded this letter to the Regional Office for an interpretation and clarification of the safety devices outlined in the subject, paragraph 29 CFR 1910.263(l)(9)(ii).

Safety devices are the components which were installed by the manufacturer when they built (fabricated) the oven and/or devices which were/was installed to improve the safety and operable aspects of the oven.

These devices are required to be inspected bimonthly by a qualified employee. The paragraph is clear on the requirements and the qualifications of the employee to perform the inspection.

Safety guards, on the other hand, are components such as barriers, guards, or other components which were installed to safeguard employees when the oven is in operation.

The safety devices will render the oven inoperable while a person or employee is working the oven, or is in or at its burners or nozzles, etc.. The circuit breakers shall be locked with a padlock.

I have highlighted the components on the checklist which will require the inspection because of the excessive flour dust which is for ever present in the area.

Thank you for your interest in safety and health in the workplace. If I can be of any further assistance, please let me know.


James S Kontos
Acting Assistant Regional Administrator
Technical Support

February 21, 1988

Mr. William Funcheon
Occupational Safety & Health Administration
300 East Michigan, Room 305
Lansing, Michigan 48933


Re: 29 CFR 1910.263(1)(9)(ii)

Dear Mr. Funcheon:

I am writing to follow up on a conversation which my associate, Jinya Chen, had with you today. This office represents APV Baker, Inc., which is a manufacturer of various equipment utilized in the food production industry, including ovens. APV has received numerous requests pursuant to 29 CFR 1910.263(1)(9)(ii) to perform inspections of "safety devices" on ovens manufactured by it. A dispute has arisen between APV and one of its customers as to the scope of this requirement. We are seeking some guidance from you with regard to this matter.

It is the understanding of APV's engineering staff that a "safety device" refers to any feature included in the electrical or mechanical design of equipment which shuts down the equipment in the event of an occurrence of some abnormal operation. It does not, on the other hand, include guards, which are referred to in the regulation as "protecting devices" and are governed by 29 CFR 1910.263(1)(9)(i) and therefore need not be inspected by the manufacturer on an annual basis.

APV has been utilizing the enclosed checklist in order to perform the required inspections. As you will note, the checklist is intended to identify those items falling within the checklist is intended to identify those items falling within the checklist is intended to identify those items falling within the definition of "safety device" outlined above. APV's customer has questioned whether other items, such as guards, should be included within the annual inspection. While such an inspection could be conducted, APV is concerned that under this broader definition virtually every safety aspect of the equipment, including its original design, would have to be inspected on an annual basis.

I would appreciate your providing us with any assistance you might be able to offer with regard to the intended scope of this regulation. if you are in need of additional information to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Thank you for your anticipated cooperation.

Very truly yours,


by Thomas C. Clinton


(For Enclosure, see printed copy)