INITIAL STATEMENT OF REASONS

CALIFORNIA CODE OF REGULATIONS
TITLE 8: GENERAL INDUSTRY SAFETY ORDERS
Chapter 4, Subchapter 7, Article 59, new Section 4307.1

Guarding of Miter Saws


PROBLEM ADDRESSED BY PROPOSED ACTION

A miter saw is a tool designed to cut primarily wood and, in some cases, materials such as non-ferrous metals, by means of a rotating toothed blade. The saws are designed with a table that supports and positions the work piece or stock, which is fed by hand, against a fence that stabilizes the material being cut from movement. The saw blade is attached to a carriage that is suspended over the saw table in the retract (raised, non-cutting) position. During the cutting of stock, the saw carriage and blade are lowered in a downward motion. Some miter saws are referred to as "sliding miter saws" because they are pulled to the front of the saw table in the raised position, lowered, and then pushed while cutting through the stock towards the rear of the table.

Miter saws are designed and manufactured according to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and Underwriter’s Laboratories Inc. (UL) national consensus standards contained in ANSI/UL 987, Stationary and Fixed Electric Tools. Miter saws are required by this standard to have the necessary upper and lower blade guards to mitigate the potential for hand and finger injuries. However, national consensus standards are recommendations and there is no existing Title 8 regulation to address the unique guarding requirements for miter saws.

The need for rulemaking to address the guarding of miter saws in Title 8 became evident in Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board variance File No. 99-V-025, in the matter of Demint Brothers Inc., dba Trimco Finish Carpentry. Trimco Finish Carpentry was cited by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Division) in relation to the use of miter saws for violations of GISO Sections 4322 and 4305(b). Section 4322 pertains to the rated arbor speed of circular saw blades and limits the speed of circular saw blades to 3600 revolutions per minute (rpm). Most circular saws are currently manufactured to operate at blade speeds exceeding 3600 rpm. The Board is addressing this concern and proposing amendments to Section 4322 in a separate rulemaking.

GISO Section 4305 entitled, Swing Cut-Off Saws and Sliding cut-Off Saws Mounted Above the Table, was codified in Title 8 at a time when miter saws of the type sold and used today were not available on the market. Section 4305(b) requires that saws have a device to automatically return the saw to the back of the table when released at any point of its travel. The intent of Section 4305(b) is to prevent inadvertent contact with the rotating lower blade of saws. However, miter saws are designed for and provided with lower blade guards by manufacturers, making the requirements of Section 4305(b) unnecessary. The Division submitted a memorandum to the Board recommending amendments to Section 4305(b) to address this concern. However, upon review of the ANSI/UL 987 standard that addresses guarding requirements for miter saws, Board staff and a Division representative agreed that a new section should be promulgated to address the unique guarding requirements for miter saws.

SPECIFIC PURPOSE AND FACTUAL BASIS OF PROPOSED ACTION

Section 4307.1. Miter Saws.

A new Section 4307.1, Miter Saws, is proposed for GISO, Article 59, that will contain the guarding requirements unique for miter saws. The proposal will include portions of the ANSI/UL 987-1996 consensus standard with modifications for clarity. The proposed regulation is necessary to provide the Division an enforceable regulation consistent with the manufacturing and design features of miter saws currently available on the market.

Subsection (a)(1)

Proposed subsection (a)(1) provides language to require that with the carriage in the full cut position (depicted in Figures A and B of the regulation), the upper half of the blade and at least 50 percent of the arbor end shall be guarded. The requirements of subsection (a) are necessary to guard the upper half of the blade while material is being cut. Additionally, language that requires at least 50 percent of the arbor end to be guarded is necessary to prevent the arbor nut from coming loose which could allow the saw blade to separate from the machine. A proposed exception allows the upper blade guard to have an opening for the ejection of sawdust.

Subsection (a)(2)

Proposed subsection (a)(2) will require the employer to ensure that power to the saw is disconnected before employees clean or unjam the guard opening for the ejection of sawdust. This subsection is necessary to protect workers from the rotating teeth of the upper half of the saw blade during cleaning and maintenance of the guard opening for the ejection of sawdust.

Subsection (b)

Proposed subsection (b) contains language that requires the lower blade teeth to be guarded when the saw carriage is in the full retract (raised) position (depicted in Figures A and B of the regulation). The proposed regulation will provide consistency with the ANSI/UL 987 requirements and is necessary to protect saw operators from contacting the lower blade teeth when the saw is in the full retract (raised) position.

Several exceptions are proposed for subsection (b). Exception No. 1 permits an opening in lower blade guards (designed to make contact with the material being cut) so that the blade teeth can make contact with the material being cut. Exception No. 2 permits an opening in the lower blade guard to allow for motor shaft clearance. Exception No. 3 permits up to 45 degrees of exposure within the lower blade quadrant furthest away from the operator side of the saw (consistent with the lower guard design features of some miter saw manufacturers) and is necessary to provide optimum functioning of lower blade guards designed to make contact with the stock or material being cut.

Subsection (c)

Proposed subsection (c) requires employers to instruct employees to keep their hands and fingers outside the area below the blade until the blade has come to a complete stop. This subsection provides a safe work practice as a precautionary requirement and is necessary to protect workers in the unlikely event that the saw blade/carriage would inadvertently drop from the retract (raised) position due to a component failure in the structural support for the saw carriage.

DOCUMENTS RELIED UPON

  1. Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Variance Decision dated November 18, 1999, in the matter of Demint Brothers, Inc. dba Trimco Finish Carpentry, OSHSB File No. 99-V-025.

  2. Memorandum dated June 4, 1999 to John MacLeod, Executive Officer, Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board from John Howard, Chief, Division of Occupational Safety and Health with attached Cal/OSHA form 9, Request for New, or Change in Existing Safety Order [GISO Section 4305(b)].
  3. Underwriters Laboratories UL 987 Standard for Safety, Stationary and Fixed Electric Tools, Miter Saws, Section 44.4, revised effective November 11, 1996; and Figure 44.1, Miter Saw Guarding, revised May 10, 1995.

IDENTIFIED ALTERNATIVES THAT WOULD LESSEN ADVERSE

IMPACT ON SMALL BUSINESSES

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.

SPECIFIC TECHNOLOGY OR EQUIPMENT

This proposal will not mandate the use of specific technologies or equipment. Miter saws are manufactured in conformance with the ANSI/UL 987 standard for stationary and fixed electric tools. The requirements in the proposal for miter saw guarding are consistent with the recommendations in the ANSI/UL 987 standard. Employers using miter saws should currently be using them consistent with the manufacturer’s guarding recommendations.

COST ESTIMATES OF PROPOSED ACTION

Costs or Savings to State Agencies

No costs or savings to state agencies will result as a consequence of the proposed amendments. See also "Specific Technology or Equipment" above.

Impact on Housing Costs

The proposal will not affect housing costs.

Impact on Businesses

The 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 also "Specific Technology or Equipment" above.

Cost Impact on Private Persons or Entities

The proposal will not require private persons or entities to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal.

Costs or Savings in Federal Funding to the State

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 or Mandate."

Other Nondiscretionary Costs or Savings Imposed on Local Agencies

This proposal does not impose nondiscretionary costs or savings on local agencies.

DETERMINATION OF MANDATE

The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board has determined that the proposed regulation does not impose a local mandate. Therefore, reimbursement by the state is not required pursuant to Part 7 (commencing with Section 17500) of Division 4 of the Government Code because the proposed amendment will not require local agencies or school districts to incur additional costs in complying with the proposal. Furthermore, this regulation does 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 regulation does 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, this proposed regulation does 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.)

This proposed regulation does not impose unique requirements on local governments. All employers - state, local and private - will be required to comply with the prescribed standards.

PLAIN ENGLISH STATEMENT

It has been determined that the proposal may 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 are available from the agency contact person named in the notice. The informative digest for this proposal constitutes a plain English overview.

ASSESSMENT

The adoption of the proposed amendment to this regulation 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.

ALTERNATIVES THAT WOULD AFFECT PRIVATE PERSONS

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