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.

July 16, 1991

Mr. Garry L. Burlison Sr.
31909 SE Green River Gorge
Black Diamond, Washington 98010

Dear Mr. Burlison:

This is in response to your March 13 letter in which you requested our opinion as to whether your invention meets or complies with the standards of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. We apologize for the delay in responding.

To begin, both the axe heads and the handles must meet the normal requirements of design and fabrication, irrespective of your invention. A proper mounting job must be done; if not, then forces could transfer to the weaker points of the handle, with the possibility of failure. Another point is that the capability of the weldment and the clamp to hold, in the case that the wood handle to head fails when under load, should be subjected to engineering analyses. You may already have obtained these, but if so, they were not included in your letter to us.

We recommend that you obtain the services of a metallurgist, to satisfy yourself that the welding process, necessary to your invention, would not alter the nature of the axe head, and a whether the heat needed in the welding process, might be transferred to the axe handle, with the effect of weakening it. Please note that the contents of this letter are advisory, and may not be used by anyone to imply endorsement by OSHA of your product. OSHA has a long standing policy against this.

A final consideration which could become important is this. Because you are located in the State of Washington, it may be fairly presumed that many of the sales of your invention would be in that state, where logging is a prominent industry. The state of Washington operates its own safety and health department and has its own safety and health standards; and while most state standards adhere closely to the federal requirements, there may be differing aspects of these standards which could affect the regulation of your product within the state. My final suggestion is that you contact the following office for further advice:

Joseph A. Dear
Washington Department of Labor and Industries
General Administration Building
Room 334 AX-31
Olympia, Washington 98504-0631
Telephone: (206) 753-6307

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is always interested in new products which advance the cause of safety in the workplace. Thank you for sharing the news of your invention with us.


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs