SGIA and 16 other prominent printing industry trade associations conducted research, gathered information on machine related injuries, and surveyed the various subsegments of the printing industry to gain a deep understanding of the impact of the potential changes to the regulation. This effort culminated in the submission of detailed comments to OSHA outlining the impact of changes OSHA is contemplating.
One of the more significant impacts is that OSHA could no longer recognize their historical interpretation that allows the printing industry to operate equipment in a safe and efficient manner. This approach, called the “inch-safe-service method” allows printing operations the ability to conduct routine activities such as changing screens, changing plates, clearing minor jams without having to completely shut down the equipment and lockout the switches that allow the equipment to be turned on such as an electrical breaker.
The comments requested that OSHA maintain recognition of the “inch-safe-service method” in addition to allowing other newer electronic alternative approaches to protect workers performing routine tasks while equipment is energized. The concern is OSHA’s preference is to have equipment that is being accessed for “servicing and maintenance” while energized, be completely shut down. However, OSHA has recently lost several court cases where companies have shown employees can be protected with certain safety systems while the equipment is energized.
The task force submitted the comments by the August deadline and a meeting with OSHA to discuss them has been set up for early November.