November 19, 1992
||R. DAVIS LAYNE
||ROGER A. CLARK, DIRECTOR
DIRECTORATE OF COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS
||Point of Operation Guards, Rotary Knife used in Poultry Processing
This is in response to your memorandum of October 24, 1991 and several
telephone conversations between members of our staffs since then, regarding
compliance policy on unguarded rotary knives used in poultry processing
industries. Currently, some Area Offices are citing 29 CFR
1910.212(a)(3)(ii) to address the unguarded knives. Based on our current
knowledge, it appears that an "effective" guard still has not been developed
for the point of operation of such knives.
We consulted with three safety and health professionals knowledgeable in
this area, reviewed available related documents, and viewed videotapes of
poultry cutting operations from two poultry plants. From these activities,
we determined that the "flapper" guard device does not enhance the safety of
employees and is seldom used as a point of operation guard for rotary knifes
used to cut poultry. OSHA will adhere to a policy of not citing 29
CFR 1910.212(a)(3)(ii), Point of operation guarding, or any part of
1910.212 when there is no front "flapper" portion of the guard on the cutting
machine. Citations shall be issued only when the upper and side
portions of rotary knives are not guarded by a fixed barrier guard to prevent
accidental employee contact with the blades.
If you have additional questions, please feel free to contact James C.
Dillard, of my staff, at (202) 219-8031.