- Standard Number:
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 3, 1996
Mr. Kenneth F. Futch, CSP, CHMM
Corporate Safety Manager
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc.
5050 Edgewood Court
Jacksonville, Florida 32203-0297
Dear Mr. Futch:
This is in response to your letter of December 14, 1995, regarding the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's Bakery Equipment Standard, 29 CFR 1910.263 (1)(8)(iii). Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you.
The section of your concern states: "The main disconnect switch or circuit breaker shall be so located that it can be reached quickly and safely."
You have indicated in your letter that in your bakeries, you have located the electrical breaker box overhead (a step stool ladder must be used to lock out this breaker) next to the oven. It is used by maintenance for lockout/tagout purposes. In addition you have indicated that a main electrical panel box, which also turns the oven off, is located less than 30 feet from the oven. If a problem occurs, the associates are told to turn off all electricity from the main panel.
The following outlines your specific questions and our responses:
Does this standard apply to retail grocery bakeries?
Yes. Section 1910.263(a)(1), Appliction, states, "The requirements of this section shall apply to the design, installation, operation and maintenance of machinery and equipment used within a bakery." The application does not exclude retail bakeries.
What does the word "quickly' mean? (2 minutes, within 30 feet, etc.)
Generally, we rely on dictionary definitions of words unless a more precise and particular definition is required. The word "quickly" is defined as "lasting only a moment, acting swiftly." In the case of a fire, "quickly" would mean that the circuit breaker would have to be reached momentarily. In your situation, the electrical circuit box would be reachable or accessible only through the use of a step ladder, requiring more time to shut the system down or throw the use of a panel box Subpart S of 29 CFR 1910 defines "readily accessible" as "capable of being reached quickly for operation, renewal, and inspections without requiring those to whom ready access is requisite to climb over or remove obstacles or resort to portable ladders, chairs, etc." Therefore, any obstructions found that would prevent "quick" accessibility (thereby creating a hazard; for example, oven racks found in front of circuit breaker boxes) would violate the standard.
If the panel box cut-off is to be used in emergencies, it must be clearly marked, as must the appropriate switches or breakers on or in the box. Further, employees must be trained in emergency procedures which direct them to the appropriate "cut-offs," so that they can, in fact, respond to emergency situations "quickly."
We noted that in your letter it was indicated that protective devices on the oven include automatic high temperature shut-off and a micro switch located on the door to shut the entire oven system down. This switch is used if the door is opened while the oven is in use. Although these controls can be reached quickly, they are basically designed to prevent damage to the equipment, and are not designed to protect the employees.
You stated in your letter that, "the electrical breaker box required for this type of oven measures 6"x 6"x 18" and if installed low (below 7') becomes a hazard to associates working in the area; therefore, we place the box overhead, next to the oven. It is used by maintenance for lockout/ tagout purposes."
We cannot tell from your letter what type of hazard the breaker box would pose if it was accessible to workers in the area. If the box presents electrical hazards, those hazards are not remedied by inaccessibility since it is used by maintenance personnel.
To the extent you are using inaccessibility of the box as a means of locking out the oven during maintenance/servicing, that approach does not meet the requirements of the lockout/tagout standard. If the electrical disconnect switch is capable of being locked out, it must be locked out during maintenance/servicing operations. If it is not capable of being locked out, it must be tagged out. 29 CFR 1910.147(c)(2).
You have noted that the bakery standard was written before the lockout/tagout standard "and appears to be more stringent without a useful purpose." Section 1910.263(1)(8)(iii) of the bakery standard, which requires that a main disconnect be reachable quickly and safely, addresses a different hazard than the hazard dealt with in the lockout/tagout standard. A readily accessible strut-off switch is important for dealing with emergencies that may occur while a machine is energized. The lockout/tagout standard addresses the hazard of unexpected energization or startup; it is designed to prevent energization in the first place, during maintenance/servicing.
Thank you for your inquiry. If you need further assistance, please contact Alcmene Haloftis of my staff at (202) 219-8031.
John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs
December 14, 1995
Mr. John B. Miles
U. S. Department of Labor of OSHA
Room N 3468200
Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20210
Re: Bakery Equipment Standard Interpretation 29CFR1910.263 (1)(8)(iii)
Dear Mr. Miles:
Recently we were cited under the OSHA Standard - 29CFR1910.263 Bakery Equipment. The section of the standard that came into question was the second sentence which states: "The switch or circuit breaker shall be so located that it can be reached quickly and safely."
We operate retail grocery stores which have small bakeries. In the bakeries we have one roll-in type oven in each store. The electrical breaker box required for this type of oven measures 6"x6"x18" and if installed low (below 7") becomes a hazard to associates working in the area; therefore, we place the box overhead, next to the oven. It is used by maintenance for lockout/tagout purposes. A step stool/ladder must be used to lock out this breaker. The main electrical panel box, which also turns the oven off, is located less than 30' from the oven. If a problem occurs, the associates are told to turn off all electricity from the main panel. Other protective devices on the oven include: automatic high temperature shut-off, and a micro switch located in the door, to shut the entire oven system down when the door is opened while cooking.
This standard was written before the lockout/tagout standard and appears to be more stringent without a useful purpose.
I would appreciate an interpretation on the following:
1) Does this standard apply to retail grocery bakeries?
2) What does the word "quickly" mean? (2 minutes, Within 30', etc.)
Thank you for your consideration in this matter. If I may be of further assistance to you, I can be contacted at (904)783-5223 and I would be more than happy to discuss the matter with you.
Very truly yours,
Kenneth F. Futch CSP CHMM
Corporate Safety Manager