OSHA: Defining Acceptable Guarding of Fan Blades

Date First Published on SafetySmart Compliance: September 9th, 2011
Topics: Machine Guarding |

Retrieved from: Occupational Safety & Health Administration


1. Purpose. To clarify the applicability of 1910.212(a)(5) and to direct answers to inquiries.

2. Background. This paragraph establishes the guarding requirements for fans within 7 feet of floor or working level. Numerous requests for clarification have been received, principally from employers using floor fans.

3. Interpretation. The subject paragraph means 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 use of nylon mesh or similar materials with holes not exceeding one-half inch, to modify a substandard guard on an existing fan is acceptable, provided the combination of the two provides adequate protection so that the mesh cannot be pushed into the fan blade during normal use.

4. Effective Date. This instruction is effective immediately, and will remain in effect until canceled or superseded.