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November 27, 2013
OSHA proposes update to mechanical power press standard

As part of a Department of Labor effort to streamline regulations and decrease burdens on businesses, on November 20, OSHA announced revisions to the inspection and maintenance record provisions of its mechanical power press standard (29 CFR 1910.217). According to OSHA, the revisions will reduce the paperwork burden on employers while maintaining employee protection.

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Mechanical power presses are machines that punch, form, or assemble metal or other materials by cutting or shaping using dies. If a power press is damaged or operating incorrectly, workers can be exposed to hand, arm, and finger injuries, including possible amputations.

Under the existing rule, employers are required to perform and document weekly inspections and tests on the clutch/brake mechanism, antirepeat feature, and single-stroke mechanism of each mechanical power press and to perform any necessary maintenance or repair on the equipment before operating it.

The proposed revisions still require that employers inspect power presses weekly, but remove the requirement to prepare certification records for weekly inspections and tests. Employers will be required to maintain certification records for maintenance and repair work only. Maintenance and repair work necessary for employee safety must be completed before operating the machines.

In addition, the existing maintenance and repair provisions of the mechanical power press standard will be aligned with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard for safety requirements for mechanical power presses. In keeping with the ANSI standard, employers will certify maintenance and repair for the entire machine rather than for certain parts of a power press.

Unless OSHA receives significant adverse comments by December 20, 2013, the final rule will take effect on February 18, 2014.

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