Updating The Power Press Standard

With the publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on mechanical power press safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)


With the publication of an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking on mechanical power press safety, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) seeks comments on updating the general industry mechanical power press standard. A two-part system comprising a stationary bed, or anvil, and a movable upper part, the ram, constitutes the working definition of a mechanical power press. Accordingly, the standard affects concrete operations with machine shops using power presses, as well as producers employing rebar and wire-cage shears, plus similar equipment that fits the definition.

To achieve consistency with ANSI B 11.1-2001 or a comparable consensus standard, OSHA decided to begin development of a proposal to update fl1910.217. The agency determined that an update would address industry concerns that the mechanical power press standard has become outdated, providing less than optimal safety. Under its present terms, employers can use various types of guard systems, including die enclosure guards, fixed barriers, interlock press barrier guards, and adjustable barriers [Sec. 1910.217(c)(2)]. Point of operation devices, by contrast, protect employees by preventing or stopping the press cycle when hands or other objects are inadvertently placed in the point of operation.

OSHA’s current standard does not cover hydraulic and pneumatic power presses. The original standard also did not address the use of presence-sensing-device initiation (PSDI) systems, which ensure a press cycle will not begin until the PSDI system registers that the danger zone is clear. With the March 1988 adoption of a mechanical power press standard update, permitting use of PSDI systems [53 FR 8353], an OSHA-approved third party was required to validate the PSDI system at installation and annually thereafter. Since that provision was introduced, no third party has sought OSHA’s approval; consequently, it appears that PSDI systems are not being used with mechanical power presses. Moreover, Sec. 1910.217 does not address potential hazards introduced by more recent operational modes, such as computer controls, now in use for some mechanical power presses.

Public comments will be accepted until August 3, 2007. They must be submitted in triplicate and can be sent by regular mail, express, hand delivery, or courier service. Comments should be sent to the OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. OSHA-2007-0003, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 Constitution Ave., N.W., Room N2625, Washington, DC 20210.

Also an option for submitting comments is electronic communication via the federal e-rulemaking portal at www.regulations.gov. Or, comments may be sent by fax to 202/693-1648.


OSHA invites responses to the following questions:

  1. Do Sec. 1910.212 general machine guarding requirements adequately protect employees operating nonmechanical power presses, while providing adequate flexibility to employers who use such presses? Should OSHA regulate all power presses under one or multiple standards? Should OSHA address nonmechanical power presses in this rulemaking action to update Sec. 1910.217? Do general requirements apply that pertain to all types of power presses?
  2. If OSHA does broaden the scope of the standard, what other types of power presses should OSHA specifically include? Why?
  3. The current OSHA standard specifically excludes press brakes, hydraulic and pneumatic power presses, bulldozers, hot bending and hot metal presses, forging presses and hammers, riveting machines, and similar types of fastener applicators. The ANSI B11.1-2001 standard excludes welding machines as well, including many equipment items not related to concrete production. If the standard is updated for consistency with provisions of ANSI B11.1-2001 or its equivalent, should OSHA exclude all machines excluded in ANSI B11.1-2001? Why? Should OSHA exclude any other machines not specifically excluded in ANSI B11.1-2001? Why?
  4. Are mechanical power presses in use today that are not covered by OSHA’s current standard due to their unique characteristics? Please supply OSHA with information about these presses. Does the current standard cover any equipment that is no longer in use? Would adoption of ANSI B11.1-2001, or a similar measure, render equipment currently in use obsolete? Does any equipment now in use warrant grandfathering into a revised OSHA standard that would otherwise restrict its use? Why?
  5. Do any indications exist of obstacles to compliance with a new standard based on ANSI B11.1-2001 or its equivalent?
  6. Do provisions exist in the current ANSI standard that should not serve as the basis for provisions in the revised OSHA standard? Should OSHA include any provisions that are not covered by the ANSI standard? If so, what are such provisions?
  7. Should information from the appendices or the explanatory columns contained in ANSI B11.1-2001 be included in the revised OSHA standard? If so, what information in particular should OSHA consider?
  8. Are there other consensus standards, international standards, or other references OSHA should consider in updating its mechanical power press standard? If so, which ones should be considered in drafting a proposed rule?
  9. Not contained within ANSI B11.1-2001 proper, but found rather in technical reports to the standards committee, are technical definitions and requirements cited in the ANSI standard, including those for the reliability and classes of control systems. Should these reports serve as one of the bases for a revised OSHA standard? If so, what specific information from these reports should be considered?