OSHA standards, as written, don’t include a lot of explanation or interpretation. Federal OSHA writes interpretations, compliance directives, and interpretative guidelines to provide direction to compliance staff and employers. Minnesota OSHA does the same. Federal OSHA publishes that information on its website. Until now, MNOSHA has not done the same. But that’s changing.
MNOSHA directives have been available to those who ask for them. The catch: you need to know to ask. Not any more.
As of October, MNOSHA will be putting these, along with FAQs about standards, on its website. They’ll be available not just to those in the know, but to employers and employees trying to figure out how to apply and implement standards in their workplaces.
What type of information will be available? One example: overhead doors. Minnesota requires that they be provided with a “constant pressure closing switch, safety edge, pressure relief mechanism, or three button control station meeting the specifications of Underwriters’ Laboratories Standard UL 325…” MNOSHA Instruction STD5-1.6 explains what that means and discusses the options. If you simply read the standard, it appears you couldn’t use a photoelectric cell that broke the beam, now the most common type of garage door safety device. But the instruction specifically allows that. Useful stuff.
We thank Jim Krueger and MNOSHA staff for making this information readily accessible to all.
(And we take some credit, because we specifically asked and OSHA and Jim listened.)