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 25, 1996

Mr. Mitch Layne
Vice President
Kenker Cincinnati, Inc.
4848 Franklin Avenue
Cincinnati, Ohio 45212

Dear Mr. Layne:

This is in response to your request for a permanent variance from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements for self-feed circular ripsaws, 29 CFR 1910.213(f)(2).

A review of your variance request by our technical staff shows that a a variance is not necessary. The current OSHA standard, 29 CFR 1910.213(f)(2) is based on the 1961 version of ANSI 01.1, Safety Requirements for Woodworking Machinery. This standard requires that "each self-feed circular ripsaw shall be provided with sectional non-kickback fingers for the full width of the feed rolls." The new and updated 1992 version of ANSI A01.1 states that where anti-kickback devices cannot be used on table saws other effective means may be used if they are properly adjusted for each piece of stock to reduce the possibility of kickback. OSHA has determined that, due to the latest technical innovations, power feed devices provide as equal or greater employee protection than the anti-kickback fingers and would be considered a de minimis violation if:

1. The device is properly adjusted for each piece of stock to reduce the possibility of kickback as described by the manufacturer;

2. The manufacturer's recommendations for the proper use of the device are followed, and the employees only stand on the side of the stock and never behind it when the power feed devices are being used; and

3. The power feed device makes the use of a non-kickback fingers physically impossible.

A de minimis violation may be issued whenever an employer is in compliance with the latest consensus standard rather than the consensus standard in effect at the time of the inspection, as long as the condition or practice does not affect the safety and health of the employees. A de minimis violation does not incur a monetary penalty nor does it require abatement.

No further action will be taken on your variance request. If you have any questions concerning your request, please contact Juanita Jones in the Office of Variance Determination at (202) 219-7193.

Sincerely,



Stephen J. Mallinger
Acting Director
Directorate of Technical Support