U.S. Department of Labor Announces Rule Change That Will Decrease Burden on Employer’s Utilizing Mechanical Power Presses

The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) recently announced a rule change which updates and streamlines the standards for the use of mechanical power presses which punch, form or assemble metal or other materials. Workers can be exposed to hand, finger or arm injuries if parts of a press are worn, damaged or not operating properly. The new rule will eliminate a requirement for employers to document mandatory weekly inspections of these presses while clarifying the responsibility of employers to perform and document any maintenance or repairs necessary to protect the safety of the workers who operate them.

The DOL found that removing the weekly inspection and test certification requirements will reduce 613,000 hours of unnecessary paperwork burden on employers. The final rule will be effective February 18, 2014, unless OSHA receives a significant adverse comment by December 20, 2013.

Comments may be submitted electronically at the Federal eRulemaking Portal. Comments may also be sent via facsimile or mail.

In addition, OSHA will align the existing standard’s maintenance and repair provisions to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for safety requirements for mechanical power presses. This standard would explicitly state that maintenance and repair must be completed before the mechanical power press is operated and, in keeping with the ANSI standard, employers  would certify maintenance and repair for the entire machine rather than for certain parts of the power press.

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