On November 20, the US Department of Labor announced rules to update regulations and decrease burden on businesses. These regulation changes have been put into effect to eliminate rules that have been deemed by the department to be obsolete. A rule from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration updates and streamlines the standards for the use of mechanical power presses—the remaining 3 rules from the Employment and Training Administration repeal outdated Foreign Labor Certification regulations for the H-2A, F-1 and H-1A programs. The rules complement President Obama's executive order 13610 to modernize the regulatory system and reduce unjustified regulatory burdens.
"Creating a framework that ensures workers are safe and treated fairly is the right thing to do, and updating rules and standards is also the right thing to do," said Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health. "The rules announced today maintain standards, lessen the burden on employers and help grow our economy."
Explanation of OSHA Mechanical Press Regulation Changes
Mechanical Presses are described as machinery that punches, forms or assembles metal or other materials. Workers can risk hand, finger or arm injuries — often resulting in amputation — if parts of a press are worn, damaged or not operating properly. In an effort to relieve businesses from the 613,000 man hours devoted each year to mechanical press check paperwork, the new regulations have halted mandatory weekly safety checks for this machinery. The responsibility for safety and operational checks now falls solely on the employer. Public comment on the changes closed on December 20, 2013. This new ruling will take effect February 18, 2014 unless OSHA received an overwhelming amount of complaints.
OSHA is aligning the existing standard's maintenance and repair provisions to that of the American National Standards Institute standard and will explicitly state that maintenance and repair must be completed before the mechanical power press is operated. The standard further requires companies to certify the entire machine's safety and mechanical soundness before use.