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 2, 1998

Mr. James T. Knorpp, P.E., CSP
Knorpp Safety Services
2149 Misty's Run
Keller, Texas 76248

Dear Mr. Knorpp:

This is in response to your letter of February 11, requesting a confirmation that the use of an electronic brake for a bun slicer would meet the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) standard 29 CFR 1910.263.

Your letter indicated that you are working with a manufacturer of bakery equipment who is attempting to modernize some of the older bakery equipment which was designed under older bakery equipment standards. You further indicated that the manufacturer's electronic braking feature has safeguards which exceed the mechanical brake feature, and appears to meet the ANSI Z50.1-1994 standard as well as the OSHA standard §1910.263.

We have reviewed the information provided in your letter. The OSHA safety standards adopted for bakery equipment were drawn from American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard, ANSI Z50.1-1947, "Safety Code for Bakery Equipment." Although ANSI has updated its standard since the 1947 edition, OSHA has not.

OSHA understands that manufacturers generally design equipment using the most current national consensus standards. Please be advised that the employer has the responsibility for compliance with OSHA regulations. Employers are encouraged by OSHA to comply with the current revision of a national consensus standard, such as ANSI Z50.1-1994, in place of an applicable OSHA standard based on a previous standard, such as ANSI Z50.1-1947, as long as the current revision provides at least the level of safety and health otherwise provided by complying with applicable OSHA standard.

The employer's use of a more current ANSI standard which differs from an OSHA standard and provides equal or greater employee protection would be considered to be a "de minimis" violation. "De minimis" violations are violations of existing OSHA standards which have no direct or immediate relationship to safety and health. Such violations would result in no citations.

We appreciate your interest in occupational safety and health. If we can be of further assistance, please contact Wil Epps of my staff at (202) 219-8041.

Sincerely,

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