Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards/OSHA regulations/commercial fans

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I was told that OSHA has safety regulations for the use of commercial fans such as the kind used by a business that dries out carpets, etc. after there has been a flood.  Don't the safety gratings have to be large enough to prevent a person's fingers from entering the area where the blades are spinning at a high velocity?  It seems like OSHA would want to regulate these high velocity fans to prevent fingers from coming into contact with the blades as they spin.  Thank you for your time.   Barbara

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Subject: OSHA regulations/commercial fans

Question: I was told that OSHA has safety regulations for the use of commercial fans such as the kind used by a business that dries out carpets, etc. after there has been a flood.  Don't the safety gratings have to be large enough to prevent a person's fingers from entering the area where the blades are spinning at a high velocity?  It seems like OSHA would want to regulate these high velocity fans to prevent fingers from coming into contact with the blades as they spin.  Thank you for your time.   Barbara

Answer: The OSHA Machine Guarding Requirements are very simple: Any and all moving parts on any or all equipment in the workplace or where an employee is exposed to such must be totally guarded in such a method so as to prevent any contact when the equipment is operating. In your case, if the spinning blades can be reached into when moving the fan is NOT properly guarded. This applies to all situations and equipment - even employee owned equipment in a workplace. (Example: If you brought a fan in from home to your office it would have to be properly guarded.) And OSHA is very unforgiving on violations of  this standard with hefty fines for serious exposures. (Translation ... it is cheaper to guard.) I hope this answers your question and if I can be of further assistance please feel free to ask.

Michael Brown, CSP Retired

Occupational (OSHA) and Environmental Hazards

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Mike Brown CSP Retired

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I specialize in the professional management of occupational safety and health as well as workers` compensation to reduce losses and improve production and address related issues through a comprehensive approach by senior management using proven principals.I worked for over twenty (20) years in the management of occupational safety, health and workers` compensation and safety training (Retired from employment in 1996 due to a stroke, which prevented the extensive travel required).

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