TITLE 8: Chapter 4, Subchapter 7, Article 59,
Section 4310 and Article 69, Section 4543 of the General Industry Safety Orders
Guarding of Meat Band Saw Blades


Existing Title 8 regulations do not specifically address the guarding of meat band saw blades. Instead, the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) enforces the blade guarding requirements of Section 4310 which pertains to band saws used in woodworking upon employers who use meat band saws to prepare meat for packaging and sale to the general public via supermarkets, grocery stores, and large warehouse food/merchandise retailers (e.g. Safeway, Price Costco, Food For Less, etc.).

Because of the daily equipment cleaning/sanitation requirements imposed upon the employers indicated above by the Federal Government (U.S. Department of Agriculture), meat band saw blades must be cleaned and sanitized frequently (e.g. at the end of each day's use). For this reason, meat band saws are not designed with a guard which completely encloses the cutting blade as required by Section 4310(a)(1). Meat band saw blades are guarded to one side of the blade and the front or the teeth of the blade.

Board staff notes that Federal OSHA has apparently taken this issue into account in Federal Title 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1), which like its Title 8 counterpart Section 4310, also addresses woodworking machinery requirements. But there is one very important difference, federal OSHA in 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1) permits band saws to utilize a blade guard which can be "L" shaped, open on two sides for all band saws, including those used to cut meat.

In the course of Board staff's evaluation of the meat band saw blade guarding issue, staff learned that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) has issued citations under Section 4310(a) to employers using the type of saw indicated above (e.g., OSHAB Docket 84-R1D5-701, DECISION, Fry's Food Stores and Decision After Reconsideration (DAR) dated August 17, 1987, Docket No. 84-R1D5-701, Cal-OSHA Digest Section, Cal-OSHA Reporter, October 26, 1987, Digest 17164R Fry's Food Stores, Inc.). The Appeals Board upheld the Division's citation on the basis that the employer's meat band saw provided a blade guard which covered only the front and outer side of the blade.

In the DAR, the Appeals Board noted that at the time of the citation leading to the above appeal, Section 4310 was designated as "Class A" and as such extended to all kinds of work. However, the Appeals Board also recognized that Section 4310 was later amended to remove the Class A designation, therefore the Appeals Board reasoned that it appears that Section 4310 no longer applies to all kinds of work, but is restricted to woodworking operations.

Board staff also notes a letter dated October 11, 1977 from the United States Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Fed-OSHA) to a meat band saw manufacturer concerning saw blade guarding. In that letter, federal OSHA concluded that the "L-shaped" guard (i.e. blade guarded to one side and in front of the saw teeth) properly adjusted so that no portion of the saw blade is exposed except the working portion between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table, meets the intent of 29 CFR 1910.212 which pertains to general requirements for machine point-of-operation guarding. Federal OSHA stated that machines which meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.213 (woodworking band saw guarding, discussed earlier), also meet the requirements of 29 CFR 1910.212. Consequently, given the above information, and the USDA requirements that meat band saw blades be cleaned daily, Board staff believes the proposal is both reasonable and necessary.


In order to effectively address the problem described earlier, Board staff proposes to amend Title 8 regulations to specifically exclude meat cutting band saw blades from the inappropriate band saw blade guarding requirement for woodworking equipment and create a new specific requirement for meat band saw guarding as a new Section 4543. This proposal is based in part on blade guarding requirements contained in 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1) with specific regard to a blade guard which may be open on two sides.

Board staff wishes to emphasize that the proposed action has no effect on the full-enclosure blade guarding requirement in Section 4310(a)(1) for woodworking band saws. Employers who operate that type of band saw will be required to fully enclose the band saw blade as required by Section 4310(a)(1).

Section 4310. Band Knives and Band Saws
Section 4310 contains various safety requirements pertaining to the use and/or operation of woodworking band knives and band saws, including but not limited to guarding of blades/knives, enclosure of saw wheels, enclosure of guide rolls of band resaws and band ripsaws, etc.

Subsection (a)(1) requires all portions of the saw blade or knife blade to be enclosed or guarded against accidental employee contact, except for that portion of the blade/knife between the bottom of the guide rolls and the table. This regulation also requires the guard to be kept adjusted as close as possible to the table without interfering with the passage of stock. The regulation also requires the down travel from the upper wheel to the guide roll to be so adjusted that the saw blade will travel within the angle or channel.

A revision is proposed to add an "EXCEPTION" after Section 4310(a)(1), which would exclude meat band saw blades from the full enclosure requirement in subsection (a)(1), and refers the employer to a new Section 4543 for the specific requirements pertaining to meat band saw blade guarding requirements.

The proposed revision is necessary to clearly indicate to the employer the location of the new proposed meat band saw blade guarding requirements and to make it clear that meat band saw blades are to be guarded as indicated by the language in Section 4543.

Section 4543. Horizontal Non-Tilting Food Mixer (Class A)
This previously repealed section consists of a section title only with no regulatory information.

A revision is proposed to delete the existing section title indicated above for replacement by a new title to read: "Guarding of Meat Cutting Band Saw Blades."

Further revisions are proposed to add a guarding requirement based upon the Federal 29 CFR 1910.213(i)(1) language, thus specifying that the band saw blade is to be guarded by means of a self-adjusting guard which will protect the saw blade at the front and outer side.

The proposed revision is necessary to protect employees from coming in contact with the band saw blade during the cutting of meat, resulting in serious employee injury to the hands, forearms, etc. The proposed revision is also necessary to ensure that the employee will be able to thoroughly sanitize the saw blade after use to prevent the spread of serious contaminating microrganisms.


  1. Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 29 CFR. Ch. XVII. (7-1-97 Edition), 1910.213, Woodworking Machinery Requirements, paragraph (i)(1), Band Saws and Band Resaws, pgs. 573-576.
  2. Letter from Mr. Dale Anderson and attachments, Costco Wholesale to the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board, dated April 6, 1998.
  3. Letter from Mr. John K. Barto, Division Chief of Occupational Safety Programming, to Mr. Vincent G. Biro, President and General Manager of Biro Manufacturing Company, dated October 11, 1977.
  4. Cal-OSHA Digest Section, Cal-OSHA Reporter, dated 10-26-87, page 86-2489, Digest 17164R Fry's Food Stores, Inc., Digest of OSHAB's Decision After Reconsideration, dated August 17, 1987, Docket No. 84-R1D5-701.
These documents are available for review during normal business hours at the Standards Board office located at 1300 "I" Street, Suite 920, Sacramento, California.


No adverse impact on small businesses is anticipated from the implementation of the proposed amendments. Therefore, no alternatives which would lessen the impact on small businesses have been identified.

The proposed amendments consist in part of clarifying information designed to direct the employer's attention to the substantive portion of the proposal. The substantive portion of the proposal will not impose new or added requirements upon employers who operate meat band saws. However, instead of having to comply with a guarding requirement which creates problems during the sanitization phase of the operation, when saw blades are inspected and cleaned, a more appropriate guarding requirement is proposed. The proposal provides the necessary shielding against hazardous contact while permitting the blade to be cleaned without having to disassemble and then replace the blade guard each time. Thus, saving the employee the associated down time and extra man hours required to remove, replace guards and clean the blade.


This proposal does not mandate the use of specific technology or equipment.


Costs or Savings to State Agencies
No costs or savings to state agencies will result as a consequence of the proposed action via revisions to Sections 4310 and 4543. This is because the proposal imposes no new or added requirements and consists of technical clarifying revisions of existing regulations while providing an alternative for guarding of meat band saw blades which is consistent with their manufactured design. Such saws are not used by state agencies, who for the most part purchase meats pre-cut from wholesale food vendors via contract.

Impact on Housing Costs
This proposal will not significantly affect housing costs.

Impact on Businesses
None. This proposal will not result in a significant adverse economic impact on businesses, including the ability of California businesses to compete with businesses in other states. (See explanation under "Costs or Savings to State Agencies".)

Cost Impact on Private Persons or Entities
None. The proposal will not require private persons or entities to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. (See explanation under "Costs or Savings to State Agencies".)

Costs or Savings in Federal Funding to the State
No impact. The proposal will not result in costs or savings in federal funding to the state.

Costs or Savings to Local Agencies or School Districts Required to be Reimbursed
No costs to local agencies or school districts are required to be reimbursed. (See explanation under "Determination of Mandate" and "Impact on Businesses".)

Other Nondiscretionary Costs or Savings Imposed on Local Agencies
None. This proposal does not impose nondiscretionary costs or savings on local agencies. (See explanation under "Costs or Savings to State Agencies" and "Impact on Businesses".)


The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has determined that the proposed regulations do not impose a mandate requiring reimbursement by the state pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of the Government Code because the proposed amendments will not require local agencies or school districts to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. Furthermore, these regulations do not constitute a "new program or higher level of service of an existing program within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution."

The California Supreme Court has established that a "program" within the meaning of Section 6 of Article XIII B of the California Constitution is one which carries out the governmental function of providing services to the public, or which to implement a state policy, imposes unique requirements on local governments and does not apply generally to all residents and entities in the state. (County of Los Angeles v. State of California 1987 43 Cal. 3d 46.)

These proposed regulations do not require local agencies to carry out the governmental function of providing services to the public. Rather, these regulations require local agencies to take certain steps to ensure the safety and health of their own employees only. Moreover, these proposed regulations do not in any way require local agencies to administer the California Occupational Safety and Health program. (See City of Anaheim v. State of California (1987) 189 Cal.App.3d. 1478.)

These proposed regulations do not impose unique requirements on local governments. All employers - state, local and private - will be required to comply with the prescribed standard.


It has been determined that the proposal does affect small business. The express terms of the proposal written in plain English have been prepared by the Board pursuant to Government Code Sections 11342(e) and 11346.2(a)(1) and the informative digest for this proposal constitutes a plain English overview.


The adoption of the proposed amendments to these regulations will neither create nor eliminate jobs in the State of California nor result in the elimination of existing businesses or create or expand businesses in the State of California.


No alternatives considered by the Board would be more effective in carrying out the purpose for which the regulations are proposed or would be as effective and less burdensome to affected private persons than the proposed action.