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New OSHA rule streamlines standards for mechanical power presses

On November 20, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a new Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that revises the standards for the use of mechanical power presses.                      

Often used to assemble, form, and punch metal and other materials, mechanical power presses can cause injuries when machine parts are worn or broken. Currently, employers are required to perform documented, weekly inspections and tests on their mechanical power presses.

The new rule updates these requirements and aligns OSHA provisions with the American National Standards Institute’s (ANSI) guidelines for mechanical power press safety. ANSI standards currently state that businesses must maintain and repair presses before use and must certify maintenance and repairs for the entire piece of equipment, rather than for individual parts.

Discontinuing weekly inspections, tests, and test documentation is expected to eliminate 613,600 hours of paperwork for American businesses. “The rules announced today maintain standards, lessen the burden on employers, and help grow our economy," explained Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health.

The revised power press standard was one of four new rules announced by the Department of Labor that support an executive order to modernize regulatory processes and minimize unnecessary burdens.

Protect workers who operate mechanical power presses by using proper lockout tagout procedures, thoroughly training employees, and providing appropriate personal protective equipment, like gloves, eye protection, ear plugs, and head and face protection.

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