OSHA: Portable Belt Sanding Machines

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

Retrieved from: Occupational Safety & Health Administration


A. Purpose. This instruction provides guidance to allow equitable enforcement of 29 CFR 1910.243 (a)(3) and 29 CFR 1926.304(f) as they pertain to the guarding of portable belt sanders.

B. Scope. This instruction applies OSHA-wide.

C. Action. OSHA Regional Administrators/Area Directors shall classify violations of 29 CFR 1910.243(a)(3) and 29 CFR 1926.304(f) as de minimis violations where the employer has complied with appropriate safeguarding precautions as follows:

1. Portable belt sanding machines shall be provided with guarding on one side at the nip point where the sanding belt runs into a pulley,
2. Handles shall be so located that a barrier interrupts any straight line path between the gripping surface of a handle and the nip point of a pulley, and
3. The unused run of the sanding belt shall be guarded on one side and at the rear.

D. Federal Program Change. This instruction describes a Federal program change which affects State Programs. Each Regional Administrator shall:

1. Ensure that this change is forwarded to each State designee.
2. Explain the technical content of the change to the State designee as requested.
3. Ensure that State designees are asked to acknowledge receipt of this Federal program change in writing, within 30 days of notification, to the Regional Administrator. This acknowledgment should include a description either of the State’s plan to implement the change or of the reasons why the change should not apply to that State.


4. Review policies, instructions and guidelines issued by the State to determine if this change has been communicated to State program personnel. Routine monitoring activities (accompanied inspections and case file reviews) shall also be used to determine if this change has been implemented in actual performance.

E. Background. Revision of 29 CFR 1910.243(a)(3) and 29 CFR 1926.304(f) are under consideration by the Mechanical Engineering and Construction Standards Divisions. The standards presently in effect prescribe guarding requirements which essentially prevent flush sanding at corners, and important feature and an application of portable belt sanders. The modified form of guarding , as presented by this instruction, permits flush sanding at corners and provides for operator safety.

Thorne G. Auchter Assistant Secretary

DISTRIBUTION: National, Regional and Area Offices All Compliance Officers State Designees NIOSH Regional Program Directors