Enforcement and Inspection, Regulatory Developments

OSHA Seeks Input on Power Press Standard

On July 28, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) called for stakeholder input on updating its mechanical power press standard (29 CFR §1910.217). The OSHA standard, originally issued in 1971, was based on the 1971 edition of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) industry consensus standard for mechanical power presses (ANSI B11.1), which has been updated a number of times since then.

The agency is seeking input on whether the OSHA standard should be updated and how closely it should follow the current ANSI standard (86 FR 40651). The most recent ANSI standard is ANSI B11.1-2009, “Safety Requirements for Mechanical Power Presses.” Responses to OSHA’s request for information (RFI) are due October 26.

The agency also is seeking information on the types of presses that should be covered and the use and certification of equipment, as well as other topics such as presence-sensing device initiation (PSDI) systems and requirements for injury reporting, press modifications, and training.

Mechanical power presses assemble, form, punch, or shear metal or other material by cutting or shaping or through the use of combination dies, according to the agency. A mechanical power press consists of a movable upper part, called the ram, and a stationary bed or anvil. A die or punch is placed on the ram, and the ram descends into a die block attached to the anvil.

OSHA is seeking any data or studies or data on workplace injuries or fatalities related to mechanical power presses, as well as hydraulic and pneumatic presses. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) last issued a review of data on injuries and amputations resulting from work with mechanical power presses in March 1987. OSHA asked whether stakeholders have more recent information on the number, types, and severity of worker injuries.

68 questions

In total, the agency is seeking answers to 68 questions in its RFI, including:

  • Should OSHA use ANSI B11.1-2009 as the basis for a standard update?
  • Should OSHA instead consider standards from the Canadian Standards Association (CSA), the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), or other European standards as the basis for updating the mechanical power presses standard?
  • Are there provisions in the ANSI standard not in the OSHA standard that are important for providing worker protection?
  • If the agency bases a revised standard on ANSI B11.1, should OSHA add explanatory material from the ANSI standard in the form of nonmandatory appendices?
  • Would employers find a nonmandatory appendix useful if it addresses subjects similar to those addressed in the explanatory text of the latest ANSI standard?
  • What material should be in the appendices?
  • If OSHA updates the standard to be consistent with the provisions of ANSI B11.1-2009 or its equivalent, should the agency exclude all of the machines the ANSI B11.1-2009 standard excludes? If so, why?
  • Should OSHA instead continue to exclude only the machines currently excluded by the OSHA standard?
  • Should OSHA exclude any other machines that ANSI B11.1-2009 does not specifically exclude? If so, which machines, and why should OSHA exclude them?
  • For employers complying with the ANSI B11.1 standard, is compliance with any of the provisions in the ANSI standard prohibitively costly? If so, which provisions are prohibitively costly?
  • Alternatively, would it be less costly to comply with the ANSI standard than OSHA’s existing standard? If so, in what areas would employers anticipate savings, including reduced compliance costs and/or improved efficiency?

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