- 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.
August 31, 2021
Mr. Travis W. Vance
Mr. Curtis G. Moore
Fisher & Phillips LLP
227 West Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Dear Messrs. Vance and Moore:
Thank you for your letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requesting clarification of OSHA standards at 29 CFR § 1910.216(e), which addresses trip and emergency switches on mills and calenders in the rubber and plastics industries, and 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(1), 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(2), and 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(3), which establish stopping limits for mills and calenders in the rubber and plastics industries after an emergency stopping device is activated. You also requested clarification on the applicability of §1910.147 (lockout/tagout or control of hazardous energy) prior to performing extrication once an emergency stop has been activated. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation only of the requirements herein, and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated in your original correspondence. Your paraphrased scenarios, questions, and our responses follow.
Scenarios: Your inquiry is whether scenarios 1 through 4 below are permissible under the standards listed in the opening paragraph, as well as any applicable lockout/tagout standards, once an emergency stopping device, such as emergency-stop button or safety bar, has been activated:
1) The mill cylinders stop and extrication of the employee is done by manual separation of the cylinders.
2) The mill cylinders stop and automatically open a set distance to assist in extricating the employee.
3) The mill cylinders stop, automatically open a set distance, reverse about 90 degrees, and then stop to assist in extricating the employee.
4) The mill cylinders stop, automatically reverse about 90 degrees, and then stop to assist with extrication of the employee.
In each scenario above, please assume that an entrapped employee is being rescued where heat is a concern.
Question 1: Do scenarios 1 through 4, involving extricating employees after the emergency stop button is activated, meet the requirements in 29 CFR §1910.216(e) and 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(1), 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(2), and 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(3)?
Response: Emergency extrication is not covered under 29 CFR § 1910.216(e) or 29 CFR § 1910.216(f). The source standard for 29 CFR § 1910.216 is American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B28.1-1967. Although ANSI included emergency release provisions, OSHA did not adopt this part of the standard.
As indicated in OSHA’s June 30, 1983, letter of interpretation on this subject, emergency roll separation is the preferred method for extricating employees whether or not heat is a factor. The same letter indicated that roll separation should be accomplished through the use of normal roll-spacing mechanisms or with the installation of special equipment such as air-operated pull-out spacers. Subsequent revisions to the ANSI standards, such as ANSI B28.1-2017, may be used as a source of guidance when designing or upgrading equipment and in developing procedures for operations and maintenance of mills and calenders, as long as they provide equal or greater employee protection. If retrofitting the mill with roll-spacing mechanisms or special equipment such as air-operated pullout spacers is required, we encourage you to contact the manufacturer of the machine to determine the best method of modification.
OSHA emphasizes that under no circumstances should the emergency release provision in ANSI B28.1-2017 constitute the primary means of protecting workers. 29 CFR § 1910.212(a)(3)(iv)(e) and 29 CFR § 1910.212(a)(3)(iv)(i) require employers to prevent any employee contact with in-running nips. In addition, 29 CFR § 1910.216(b) and 29 CFR § 1910.216(c) require employers to install safety controls on mills and calenders.
Nevertheless, since the trip and emergency switch on the mill you noted in your correspondence must be manually reset, the control would meet the 29 CFR § 1910.216(e) requirement. 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(1), 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(2), and 29 CFR § 1910.216(f)(3) establish stopping limits for mills and calenders, and, as stated above, do not cover emergency release provisions. OSHA cannot determine whether 29 CFR § 1910.216(f) requirements are met in the above scenarios without knowing the travel distance of the mill cylinder after the emergency switch is activated and the surface speed of the mill with no load.
Question 2: Do hazardous energy control standards at 29 CFR § 1910.147 apply to emergency release and employee extrication in the event that an employee is caught in a mill?
Response: 29 CFR § 1910.147 covers the servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment in which the unexpected energization or start-up of the machines or equipment, or release of stored energy, could harm employees. If employee rescue activities involve disassembly or other work that would expose rescuers to hazardous energy, 29 CFR 1910.147 may apply. The agency encourages you to properly document the steps necessary for safe extrication and train employees on the procedures to be followed in the event that employee extrication from a mill becomes necessary. For reference purposes, ANSI B28.1-2017 A.2.1.10 recommends emergency drills as a part of effective employee training for emergency situations.
Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. OSHA’s requirements are set by statute, standards, and regulations. Our letters of interpretation do not create new or additional requirements but rather explain these requirements and how they apply to particular circumstances. This letter constitutes OSHA’s interpretation of the requirements discussed. From time to time, letters are affected when the Agency updates a standard, a legal decision impacts a standard, or changes in technology affect the interpretation. To assure that you are using the correct information and guidance, please consult OSHA’s website at https://www.osha.gov. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Directorate of Enforcement Programs at (202) 693-2100.
Kimberly Stille, Acting Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs