[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 167 (Wednesday, August 28, 2002)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 55181-55183]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 02-21834]



Occupational Safety and Health Administration

29 CFR Part 1910

[Docket No. S225A]
RIN 1218-ACO3

Notice of a Regulatory Flexibility Act Review of Presence Sensing 
Device Initiation of Mechanical Power Presses

AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Labor.

ACTION: Notice of a Section 610 review; request for comments.


SUMMARY: The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is 
conducting a review of the Presence Sensing Device Initiation (PSDI) 
requirements of the Mechanical Power Presses Standard pursuant to 
section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act and section 5 of 
Executive Order 12866 on Regulatory Planning and Review. In 1988, in 
order to assist small and large businesses in improving productivity 
while also improving worker protection, OSHA adopted provisions to 
permit PSDI. However, the PSDI provisions have not been utilized. The 
purpose of this review is to determine, while protecting worker safety, 
whether there are ways to modify this standard to make implementation 
more practical, to reduce regulatory burden on small business and to 
improve its effectiveness. Written public comments on these and other 
relevant issues are welcomed.

DATES: Written comments to OSHA must be sent or postmarked by January 
27, 2003.

ADDRESSES: You may submit three copies of your written comments to the 
OSHA Docket Office, Docket No. S225A,

[[Page 55182]]

Technical Data Center, Room N-2625, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Ave., NW., Washington, DC 20210; telephone (202) 693-2350. 
If your written comments are 10 pages or fewer, you may fax them to the 
OSHA Docket Office at (202) 693-1648. You do not have to send OSHA a 
hard copy of your faxed comments.
    You may submit comments electronically through OSHA's Home Page at 
http://ecomments.osha.gov/. Please note that you may not attach 
materials such as studies or journal articles to your electronic 
comments. If you wish to include such materials, you must submit three 
copies of the material to the OSHA Docket Office at the above address. 
When submitting such material to the OSHA Docket Office, you must 
clearly identify your electronic comments by name, date, subject, and 
docket number so that we can attach the materials to your electronic 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Joanna Dizikes Friedrich, Directorate 
of Policy, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Room N3641, 
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20210, Telephone (202) 
693-2400, Fax (202) 693-1641.



    A mechanical power press is a mechanically powered machine that 
shears, punches, forms or assembles metal or other material by means of 
cutting, shaping or combination dies attached to slides. A press 
consists of a stationary bed or anvil, and a slide having a controlled 
reciprocating motion. The slide, called the ram, is equipped with 
special punches and moves downward into a die block which is attached 
to the rigid bed. The punches and the die block assembly are generally 
referred to as a ``die set.''
    The main function of a stamping press is to provide sufficient 
power to close and open the die set, thus shaping or cutting the metal 
part set on the die block. The metal part is fed into the die block and 
the ram descends to perform the desired stamping operation. The danger 
zone for the operator is between the punches and the die block. This 
area is referred to as the ``point of operation.''
    If the employee's hand is in the point of operation when the press 
strokes, amputation of the finger, hand or arm is quite possible. 
Safeguards are needed to prevent or greatly reduce the possibility of 
this happening. However, there are a significant number of such 
amputations each year because of failure of safeguards, improper 
operation or other causes.
    OSHA regulates mechanical power presses at 29 CFR 1910.217. OSHA 
adopted that standard in 1971 based on the 1971 revision of the 
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) voluntary consensus 
standard ANSI B11.1, ``Safety Requirements for Construction, Care and 
Use of Mechanical Power Presses.''
    Until 1988, based on the 1971 ANSI Standard, the OSHA standard 
required manual actuation of a press stroke, to prevent the actuation 
of a press stroke when the employee's hand was in the point of 
operation. A typical method of actuation was dual palm buttons set 
sufficiently far apart to prevent part of the employee's body from 
being in the point of operation when the press stroked.
    A presence sensing device, typically a light curtain, senses when 
an object, such as a hand, is within its field. The 1971 OSHA standard 
based on the 1971 ANSI standard permitted presence sensing devices 
(PSD) to be used as a guard, but it did not permit the PSD to initiate 
(actuate) the stroke of the press.
    Presence sensing device initiation (PSDI) actuates the stroke of 
the press when the PSD senses that the employee has fed the press and 
removed the employee's hands and arms from the point of operation. PSDI 
increases the speed of the operation, consequently improving 
productivity. Experts also believe, if done correctly, it would be more 
protective of employees by protecting non-operator employees near the 
press (who would not be protected by manual actuation alone) and by 
reducing employee fatigue.
    Several European countries permitted PSDI of mechanical power 
presses in the 1950's, based on government certification of the safety 
of the system. OSHA granted a temporary variance to Interlock Stamping 
Company in 1976 to utilize and test PSDI.
    In 1982, in order to study PSDI, OSHA contracted with an expert, 
Mr. Trygve Hauge, and the National Institute of Occupational Safety and 
Health (NIOSH) contracted with Purdue Research Foundation to study 
PSDI. Their reports were widely circulated by OSHA and comments were 
    Based on this considerable body of experience, expert views and 
comments, OSHA proposed to amend 29 CFR 1910.217 to permit PSDI on 
March 29, 1985 at 50 FR 12700. Those amendments included requirements 
for designing PSDI systems. They also included requirements that 
manufacturers certify the system and that an independent organization 
validate that certification. These provisions are located at 29 CFR 
1910.217(h) and Appendixes A, B and C.
    The large majority of comments on the proposal supported the 
provision and believed it was workable. The minority who opposed the 
proposal were split between those who believed that PSDI was not safe 
and those who believed fewer requirements were appropriate.
    OSHA issued the final rule permitting PSDI on March 14, 1988 at 53 
FR 8327. The rule would permit either manufacturer or user associations 
to set up a validating organization if it had independent member and 
employee participation. OSHA believed, based on the studies, expert 
opinions, European experience, experimental variance and comments, that 
the regulation would substantially improve productivity, better protect 
workers, and be implemented.
    However, PSDI has not been adopted for mechanical power presses. No 
organization has agreed to validate PSDI installations. PSDI is still 
widely used in Europe, and it is used for other types of equipment in 
the United States, where it had not been prohibited.
    In addition, there is a much updated ANSI B.ll.1-2001 standard on 
mechanical power presses. This updated standard does not require 
certification, but it has a number of requirements for PSDI which are 
integrated thoughout the standard.
    In Europe, the various specific certification requirements for PSDI 
have been replaced by the European Union Directive on Machinery 
(Directive 98/37/Ec). This directive covers a broad class of machinery, 
has many requirements, and requires self certification, but it does not 
have separate PSDI requirements.

Regulatory Review

    The original PSDI rulemaking was, in part, a response to the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act of 1980, to increase small business options 
and productivity while protecting workers. However, the goal has not 
been achieved.
    Accordingly, OSHA has decided to review the PSDI provisions of the 
Mechanical Power Press Standard pursuant to section 610 of the 
Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.) and section 5 of 
Executive Order 12866 ( 59 FR 51739, 51739, October 4, 1993). A major 
goal of the review is to determine whether there are changes that can 
be made which will encourage the implementation of PSDI, to improve 
business and, particularly, small business productivity, while 
protecting workers. OSHA particularly welcomes public comment on this 
issue as it relied

[[Page 55183]]

heavily on expert and public comments in its earlier rulemaking.
    The purpose of a review under section 610 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act:
    ``(S)hall be to determine whether such rule should be continued 
without change, or should be rescinded, or amended consistent with the 
stated objectives of applicable statutes to minimize any significant 
impact of the rule on a substantial number of small entities.''
    ``The Agency shall consider the following factors:
    (1) The continued need for the rule:
    (2) The nature of complaints or comments received concerning the 
rule from the public;
    (3) The complexity of the rule;
    (4) The extent to which the rule overlaps, duplicates or conflicts 
with other Federal rules; and, to the extent feasible, with state and 
local governmental rules; and
    (5) The length of time since the rule has been evaluated or the 
degree to which technology, economic conditions, or other factors have 
changed in the areas affected by the rule.''
    The review requirements of section 5 of Executive Order 12866 
require agencies:
    ``To reduce the regulatory burden on the American people, their 
families, their communities, their state, local and tribal governments, 
and their industries; to determine whether regulations promulgated by 
the [Agency] have become unjustified or unnecessary as a result of 
changed circumstances; to confirm that regulations are both compatible 
with each other and not duplicative or inappropriately burdensome in 
the aggregate; to ensure that all regulations are consistent with the 
President's priorities and the principles set forth in this Executive 
Order, within applicable law; and to otherwise improve the 
effectiveness of existing regulations.''
    An important step in the review process involves the gathering and 
analysis of information from affected persons about their experience 
with the rule and any material changes in circumstances since issuance 
of the rule. This notice requests written comments on the continuing 
need for the PSDI rule, its adequacy or inadequacy, its small business 
impacts, and other and all issues raised by section 610 of the Act and 
section 5 of the Executive Order. However, it would be particularly 
helpful for commenters to suggest how the PSDI provisions can be 
improved or changed to achieve its productivity and worker protection 

Some Possible Options

    This section discusses several possible options for changing the 
PSDI requirement so that it will be utilized and its benefits realized. 
Some of the implications of these options are also presented. There may 
be other options with various advantages and disadvantages, and there 
may be additional implications of the options presented.
    The public is invited to comment on the options OSHA has presented, 
other options which the commenter may wish to have considered, and the 
advantages and disadvantages of the various options. One very important 
consideration which needs to be discussed is whether an option will 
lead to the implementation of PSDI while protecting workers. The 
availability of OSHA regulatory resources to implement an option is a 
factor, however.
    One option would be to make relatively minor changes to the PSDI 
and validation requirements to reduce the apparent difficulties for its 
implementation. It has been suggested that eliminating the requirement 
that no single failure could lead to injury, making some adjustments to 
the technical requirements, and making it easier for nationally 
recognized testing laboratories (NRTL's) to become validators may make 
the implementation of PSDI more likely.
    This approach is easier for OSHA to implement since it requires the 
fewest regulatory resources, raises fewer issues, and would take less 
time. Suggestions along this line by organizations willing to undertake 
validation responsibilities are welcome. However, it may be that a 
manageable number of adjustments to the current approach to PSDI would 
not lead to its implementation.
    A second approach would be to update the mechanical power presses 
standard to the new ANSI B11.1-2001 standard or something quite 
similar. PSDI in an integral part of that ANSI standard, and there is 
no validation requirement. Many in the field believe this updating is 
long over due, that there would be a range of benefits, and that it 
would lead to implementation of PSDI. However, this approach would 
require a major commitment and reallocation of OSHA regulatory 
resources, and it would take considerable time. It also raises the OSHA 
priorities question of whether such a large commitment of resources 
could more effectively be committed to updating other safety standards.
    Another approach would be to eliminate the validation requirements 
and possibly replace it with a self-certification requirement. This is 
clear as an issue, simple in terms of the language changes to the 
standard, and may allow the widespread adoption of PSDI. However, OSHA 
reached the firm conclusion in 1988 that validation was necessary for 
worker safety in the context of the present mechanical power press 
standard. A reversal of OSHA position legally requires evidence (which 
OSHA does not now have in its possession) that worker safety would be 
protected. OSHA welcomes submission of data on this issue.
    Another option would be to replace the current PSDI requirements 
with the requirements for PSDI in the ANSI B.11.1-2001. This presents 
technical issues since the current OSHA mechanical power press standard 
is substantially different than the 2001 ANSI standard. Comments are 
welcome on whether these technical issues can be resolved and the 
safety of this approach.
    Comments are requested on the above options and other options or 
variations. Comments are also requested on all other issues relevant to 
this regulatory review of the PSDI requirements of the mechanical power 
press standard, pursuant to section 610 of the Regulatory Flexibility 
Act and section 5 of the Executive Order. Commenters may wish to review 
the extensive technical information and economic data presented in the 
preamble to the final PSDI Federal Register Notice at 53 FR 8322-8365, 
March 14, 1988.
    Comments must be mailed or submitted by January 27, 2003. Comments 
should be submitted to the addresses and in the manner specified at the 
beginning of the notice.

    Authority: This document was prepared under the direction of 
John L. Henshaw, Assistant Secretary of Labor for Occupational 
Safety and Health, 200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 
20210. It is issued pursuant to section 610 of the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 610) and Section 5 of Executive Order 
12866 (59 FR 51724, October 4,1993).

    Signed at Washington, DC, this 21st day of August, 2002.
John Henshaw,
Assistant Secretary of Labor.
[FR Doc. 02-21834 Filed 8-27-02; 8:45 am]