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Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents
• Standard Number: 1910.212; 1910.212(a)(5); 1910.217

August 21, 2003

Mr. Romualdo Correa Carrión
Occupational Safety & Health Consultant
38 Asia Street Mónaco II
Manati, PR 00674

Dear Mr. Carrión:

Thank you for your May 9, 2003 letter to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA's) Directorate of Enforcement Programs (DEP). This letter constitutes Federal OSHA's interpretation only of the requirements discussed and may not be applicable to any questions not delineated within your original correspondence. You had questions regarding, 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(5), the maximum permissible openings for blades of cooling fans. You also asked whether blades of cooling fans for motors and pumps, as well as cooling fans and turbine blades for Commercial Air Handling Units fall under 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(1)(ii), which refers to distances on Table O-10.

As you may know, the Territory of Puerto Rico administers its own occupational safety and health program under a plan approved and monitored by Federal OSHA. States and Territories are required to have regulations that are at least as effective as the federal standards, although they may be more stringent. In order to obtain Puerto Rico's policy on this issue, you may direct your inquiry to:
Victor Rivera Hernández, Secretary
Puerto Rico Department of Labor and Human Resources
Prudencio Rivera Martínez Building, 21st Floor
505 Muñoz Rivera Avenue
Hato Rey, Puerto Rico 00918
Telephone: (787) 754-2119
Exposure of Blades, 29 CFR 1910.212(a)(5), specifies that all fans within 7 feet of the floor or working level must be guarded. The guard must not have openings greater than one-half inch in width. The use of concentric rings with spacing between them not exceeding a one-half inch are acceptable, provided that sufficient radial spokes and firm mountings are used to make the guard rigid enough to prevent it from being pushed into the fan blade during normal use. The standard would apply to fan blades of cooling fans for motors and pumps, as well as cooling fans and turbine blades for Commercial Air Handling Units, which are 7 feet off the floor or working level.

Regarding your inquiry with respect to 29 CFR 1910.217, this is a vertical standard that covers mechanical power presses only. It does not cover, nor was it intended to address blades of cooling fans for motors and pumps, as well as cooling fans and turbine blades for Commercial Air Handling Units.

Thank you for your interest in occupational safety and health. We hope you find this information helpful. Federal 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 Federal OSHA's interpretation of the requirements discussed. Note that our enforcement guidance may be affected by changes to Federal 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 Federal OSHA's website at
www.osha.gov. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact the Office of General Industry Enforcement at (202) 693-1850.


Richard E. Fairfax, Director
Directorate of Enforcement Programs

Standard Interpretations - Table of Contents

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