As a result of OSHA’s ongoing retrospective analyses of its policies and regulations, and in pursuance of President Obama’s Executive Order 13610 which aims to reduce regulatory compliance burdens among employers, OSHA has updated its standard for the use of mechanical power presses (29 CFR 1910.217 Mechanical Power Presses). According to the OSHA news release about the matter, proposed changes to the standard will include:
– The elimination of preparing the certification records for the weekly inspections on mechanical presses (1910.217(e)(1)(i)) worth 613,600 hours of paperwork, which will take effect on Feb 18, 2014. The new rule will be implemented unless contested through public comment before December 20, 2013. However, the rule emphasizes that the new rule doesn’t eliminate employers’ obligations to maintain the mechanical power presses as to ensure the safety of operators.
– The alignment of the provisions of the standard concerning mechanical power presses repair and maintenance with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) B11.1-2009 or the American National Standard for Safety Requirements for Mechanical Power Presses. As with the first rule, the second proposed rulemaking would bring down stringent documentation requirements a notch; however, it aims to require employers to explicitly state that workers should perform the necessary equipment maintenance and repair on all parts of the presses on a regular basis “for at least once a week.”
– The inclusion of the name and details of the worker who performed the maintenance and repair work on the mechanical power presses in the certification records. This could be helpful during OSHA compliance inspections for verification purposes.
– The maintenance and storage of inspection and maintenance records at a location that’s accessible to employees’ workplaces or where they operate the mechanical power presses. Keeping the records at a nearby location provide employees ease of access at essential times, particularly before operating the power presses.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, over 1,600 to 2,000 (10 percent of total amputations for the year) amputations occur annually since the 1980s due to power press accidents. OSHA statistics meanwhile reveal that 49 percent of power press-related injuries lead to an amputation. Moreover, data from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) also showed that younger male workers are at high risk from power press-related accidents. NIOSH research also stated that the mechanical power press is the metalworking equipment which appeared to be in most need for further safety research.
Occupational Safety and Health Assistant Secretary of Labor Dr. David Michaels noted that the proposed rulemaking is just “the right thing to do,” according to the OSHA news release.
The above proposed rules are open for public comment at www.regulations.gov, the Federal government’s eRulemaking Portal.
The US Department of Labor also announced the revision of outdated hiring policies for foreign workers i.e. foreign agricultural workers, nurses and students. The policies concerned are Foreign Labor Certifications H2-A, F-1 and H1-A programs.
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