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 28, 1992

Mr. John Janos
Weiner and Associates
Consulting Engineers
305 W. Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204

Dear Mr. Janos:

Thank you for your letter of February 21 addressed to Mr. Roger Clark, Director of the Directorate of Safety Standards Programs in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Your letter was referred to the Directorate of Compliance Programs. We apologize for the delay in responding.

Your questions and our responses concerning the General Industry Standards at 29 CFR 1910.216 on Mills and Calenders in Rubber and Plastics Industries follow.

Question 1: Why were all "should" elements of OSHA standards removed as of February 10, 1984?

Reply: The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard, ANSI B28.1-1967, Safety Code for Mills and Calendars in the Rubber and Plastics Industries which was adopted into OSHA standards at 29 CFR 1910.216 contained "should" provisions which subsequently were determined to be advisory. These advisory provisions were removed from 29 CFR 1910.216 by the Revocation and Repetitive Standards Final Rule published in the Federal Register, Volume 49 Number 29 on Friday, February 10, 1984. Removal of these "should" provisions is consistent with 29 CFR 1910.6 which provides that only mandatory provisions, that is, provisions containing the word "shall" or other mandatory language of standards incorporated by reference, are adopted as standards by OSHA. Please refer to the preamble of the aforementioned Final Rule, a copy of which is enclosed, for a more detailed explanation.

Question 2: Does the 29 CFR 1910.216 terminology "new installations" include rebuilt mills?

Reply: The standards at 29 CFR 1910.216 are applicable to new installations and existing installations as delineated by the August 31, 1971 date specified in subparagraphs 1910.216(a)(1) and (a)(2). In this context, new and existing installations include rebuilt mills.

Question 3: Does OSHA have data relating to workplace accidents at rubber mills? Specific information on accidents involving rubber mills is requested. Also, information on the kind of safety devices installed on these mills is requested.

Reply: In addition to the information provided to you over the telephone by Mr. Joseph Ashley of my staff on April 17, we are forwarding a copy of U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bulletin 2373 dated April 1991 concerning 1989 Occupational injuries and illnesses in the United States by Industry. Bulletin 2373 includes statistics on rubber and miscellaneous plastics products. We hope that the information provided meets your needs.

Question 4: Why does OSHA require only one of the three safety requirements in 29 CFR 1910.216(b)?

Reply: In accordance with 29 CFR 1910.216(b)(1), a safety trip control must be provided in front and in back of each mill. These safety trip controls may be one, or a combination, of the three types specified in 29 CFR 1910.216(b)(1)(i), (ii) and (iii).

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


Patricia K. Clark, Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs