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.

September 4, 1996

James B. Meehan, P.E. P.C.
Engineering Consulting
3006 Rownd Street
Cedar Falls, IA 50613-5813

Dear Mr. Meehan:

This is in response to your August 2 letter requesting interpretation of the machine anchoring requirement under paragraph 1910.212(b) as it may apply to the dental polishing lathes described in your letter and in the workplace scenario which follows:

Scenario: The dental lathes which are listed under Underwriters Laboratories U.L. 437 B, "Dental Lathes," are similar to a double ended electric motor which has a friction collet to hold 1/8 inch diameter tool bits on each end of the shaft. The motor is a fractional howerpower motor. A base is integral with the motor and is fitted with rubber feet. The workpiece, such as a casting of a tooth, is hand-held against the tool. The dental lathes are designed for placement on a bench and are moveable. They do not produce vibrations when operating that cause the lathe to walk or move about on a bench surface when in use. As determined by the August 28 telecom between you and Mr. Ronald J. Davies of my staff, the dental polishing lathe has a flexible cord and is powered by way of a plug-connection to a 110 volt A.C. circuit.

It is important that the lathes:

1. Can be moved from one work station to another along the same bench.

2. Can be moved from a convenient work location in any particular workstation to a storage location at the back or to the side of the bench.

3. Are moved for flexibility within a work station to accommodate a variety of dental restoration work.

Question: Does paragraph 1910.212(b) apply to the dental polishing lathes described in the preceding scenario?

Reply: Paragraph 1910.212(b) does not apply to the portable dental polishing lathe described in the scenario above. Please note that these U.L. listed lathes are approved by OSHA for use in workplace applications in accordance with the conditions of use specified by U.L. Also, the machine guarding requirements under paragraph 1910.2122(a)(3) apply.

We appreciate your interest in Occupational Safety and Health. If you have further questions on this response please contact Mr. Ronald J. Davies in the Office of Safety Compliance Assistance at (202) 219-8031 extension 110.


John B. Miles, Jr., Director
Directorate of Compliance Programs