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• Publication Date: 01/20/1978
• Publication Type: Notice
• Fed Register #: 43:2945-47
• Standard Number: 1910.217
• Title: Variance
• Abstract: Permanent variance is granted to West Pharmaceutical Services (formerly The West Co.) from certain standards prescribed in 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e) and 1910.217(c)(3)(ii) concerning the guarding of mechanical power presses. The facilities affected by this application are: The West Co., Phoenixville, Pennsylvania (PA), Region III; The West Co., Millville, New Jersey (NJ), Region II; The West Co., Kearney, Nebraska (NE), Region VII;The West Co., Kinston, North Carolina (NC), Region IV; and The West Co., Petersburg, Florida (FL), Region IV. The effective date of the variance is January 20, 1987.

DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Occupational Safety and Health Administration

[V-77-9]

WEST CO.

Grant of Variance


AGENCY: Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Department of Labor.

ACTION: Grant of Variance.

SUMMARY: This notice announces the grant of a variance to The West Co. from certain standards prescribed in 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e) and (c)(3)(ii) concerning the guarding of mechanical power presses.

DATES: The effective date of the variance is January 20, 1978.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:
James J. Concannon, Director, Office of Variance Determination, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Department of Labor. 3rd Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., Room N-3668. Washington, D.C. 20210, telephone 202-523-7121.

or the following Regional and Area Offices:
U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Gateway Building, Suite 2100, 3535 Market. Street, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. William J. Green. Jr., Federal Building, 600 Arch Street, Room 4256, Philadelphia, Pa. 19106.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1515 Broadway (1 Astor Plaza), Room 3445, New York, N.Y. 10036.
U.S. Department of Labor. Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 519 Federal Street, Room 408, Camden, N.J. 08101.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 911 Walnut Street. Room 3000, Kansas City, Mo. 64106.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration. 113 West 6th Street. North Platte, Nebr. 69101.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1376 Peachtree Street N.E., Suite 587, Atlanta, Ga. 30309.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Federal Office Building, Room 406. 310 New Bern Avenue, Raleigh. N.C. 27601.
U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 1000 North Ashley Drive, Room 918. Tampa, Fla. 33602.

I. BACKGROUND

The West Co., West Bridge Street, Phoenixville, Pa., 19460, made application pursuant to section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (84 Stat. 1596; 29 U.S.C. 655) and 29 CFR 1905.11 for a variance, and for an interim order pending a decision on the application for a variance, from the safety standards prescribed in 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e). The standard requires that the two-hand tripping controls be located at such a distance from the point of operation that the slide completes its downward motion or stops before the operator can reach into the point of operation. As part of its guarding method, the applicant has developed a sliding barrier which is similar to, but does not comply with, those discussed in 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(3)(ii). Therefore, a variance from is sought in lieu of complying with 1910.217(c)(3)(ii) or the distance requirements of 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e).

The facilities affected by this application are:

The West Co., Inc., West Bridge Street. Phoenixville, Pa. 19460.
The West Co., Inc., 10th and G Streets, N.J. 08332.
The West Co., Inc., P.O. Box 698, Kearney, Nebr. 68847.
The West Co., Inc., North Carolina State Road. Kinston, N.C. 28501.
The West Co., Inc., 5111 Park Street, North Petersburg. Pia. 33709.

Notice of the application, and of the granting of an interim order, was published in the FEDERAL REGISTER on July 1, 1977 (42 FR 33816). The notice invited interested persons, including affected employers and employees, to submit written data, views, and arguments regarding the grant or denial of the variance requested. In addition, affected employers and employees were notified of their right to request a hearing on the application for a variance. No written comments or requests for a hearing have been received.

II. FACTS

The applicant operates mechanical power presses in the manufacture of molded rubber pharmaceutical products. The presses used are equipped with full revolution clutches with three engaging points per revolution. The trips are two-hand, single stroke, non-repeat type.

The presses are operated in a slow manner. Preparation time of up to 45 seconds-1 minute is required to dip the sheets of rubber in water and glycerine and rub the rubber sheet into place on the die. Most of the presses are then operated at 90 RPM, and a few 40 RPM. Due to the slow speed of the press, the two-hand trips must be located at distances of 35" to 79" from the point of operation in order to comply with 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e). The employees are on straight time, rather than incentive pay.

Because of the length of time the operator's hands are in the die area during preparation for the stroke, the applicant has developed the use of safety blocks to guard against injury in the event of a malfunction. The safety blocks, which consist of 2 pieces of 2" pipe approximately 9" long, are placed between the upper and lower die shoes before the operator reaches into the die area. When preparations are completed, the applicant removes the safety blocks from between the dies and uses them to press the two-hand trips, These two-hand trips are located closer to the die area than permitted under 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e).

In order to prevent damage or hazard if an unintentional stroke should occur while the safety blocks are in position, the presses arc equipped with lightened flywheels, and with a reduced number of drive belts. The drive belts are loosened, allowing them to slip if there should be an incident which strains the motor.

In order to provide additional safety to the employees the applicant has developed a sliding barrier which is tripped by an air cylinder actuated by the same valves that trip the press. The barrier drops by gravity with a spring assist so that it falls well ahead of the slide and prevents the operator from reaching into the point of operation. The barrier is automatically raised by the ram at the end of the stroke, allowing the operator to place the safety blocks between the die shoes and prepare for the next stroke. The barrier is made of clear plastic with a rubber gasket across the bottom to prevent injury if it should strike an employee's hand.

III. DECISION

Section 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e) requires, among other things, that two-hand trips be located at such distance from the point of operation that the slide completes its downward travel before the operator can reach into the point of operation.

The applicant's press operations differ greatly from the usual metal stamping operation. This is a slow operation requiring extensive manipulation of the rubber material in the die prior to each stroke, while metal stamping is a much more repetitive operation.

Because the applicant's power presses operate at slow speeds of 40 and 90 RPM, compliance with this standard would require the trips to be located at such distances from the point of operation that they would no longer be solely under the operator's control. There would then be the added hazard of a passerby tripping the press without the operator's knowledge.

In order to provide for safe operation of these presses, the applicant has developed a system of dual safeguards using safety blocks and a sliding barrier to safeguard employees during preparation time and during the stroke.

Strict operating procedures require that two pieces of 2" pipe each approximately 9" long (called safety blocks) be placed between the two shoes of the die before the operator reaches into the point of operation. These safety blocks are removed after the preparation is complete and are used to press the two-hand trips. They are then replaced between the die shoes. In this way the safety blocks are always in position to prevent the die from closing while the operator's hands are in the point of operation. The applicant has long experience and a good safety record using these safety blocks. This long history of strictly enforcing their use contributes significantly to the safety of this procedure as used by this applicant.

In addition to this method which is dependent on proper operating procedures, the applicant has developed a sliding barrier which falls ahead of the slide and prevents the operator from reaching into the point of operation during the stroke. This barrier does not meet the requirements of 1910.217(c) (3) (ii) in that it does not enclose the point of operation before the stroke can be initiated. Rather, the barrier is tripped by an air cylinder activated by the same valves that trip the press. The barrier then falls rapidly enough to prevent the operator, who is holding the safety blocks in his hands, from reaching into the point of operation.

Section 1910.217(c) (3) permits, among other things, the point of operation to be safeguarded either by (1) two-hand trips properly located or (2) by Type A or Type B gates. In this instance the applicant is partially using both methods. While neither of the applicant's methods by itself totally meets the requirements of the standards, the combination of the two, which would be used by the applicant, would provide safety to the employees.

The applicant's press operators are paid hourly wages rather than by piecework. Thus there is not the incentive for the operator to attempt to speed up production, perhaps bypassing some of the safety procedures.

Accordingly, it has been determined that the use of the safety blocks in combination with a sliding barrier, as described, will provide employment as safe as that which would be obtained by complying with the standard.

The State of North Carolina has reviewed the variance application. The State's comments were considered in reaching this decision. Accordingly, the State of North Carolina is made a party to this decision.

IV. ORDER

Pursuant to authority in section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, and in Secretary of Labor's Order No. 8-76 (41 FR 25059), it is ordered that The West Co. be. and it is hereby, authorized to operate its power presses using safety blocks in combination with a sliding barrier in lieu of complying with the distance requirement in 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(3)(i)(e) or 29 CFR 1910.217(c)(ii), with the following conditions:

(1) The employer shall assure that two pieces of 2" pipe each approximately 9" long (called safety blocks) are available at each press, and that they are placed between the upper and lower die shoes before the operator's hands enter the point of operation;
(2) The employer shall assure that the safety blocks are removed and used to press the two-hand trips which activate the press;
(3) The presses shall be equipped with lightened flywheels and with the minimum number of drive belts required to stroke the press. These drive belts shall be loosened to allow slippage if the press should stroke while the blocks were in place;
(4) The presses shall be equipped with a sliding barrier which drops when the press is tripped, preventing access to the die area;
(5) The barrier shall drop by gravity assisted by springs; it shall fall freely; and the closing time for the barrier shall be .20 seconds .05 seconds. These items shall be routinely checked as part of the maintenance checks and necessary adjustments or repairs made to maintain the closing speed;
(6) Two-hand trips shall be the only method of actuating the press;
(7) The operating procedures for use of these safety blocks and the sliding barrier on the power presses shall be written and shall be strictly enforced. All press operators shall be trained in the procedures and supervisory personnel shall be responsible for assuring that the procedures are observed at all times;
(8) The presses shall not operate at less than 40 RPM;
(9) The two-hand trips shall be located at such distance from the barrier that the falling of the barrier would prevent the operator from reaching into the die; and,
(10) The operators shall be assured of sufficient time to safely perform each press operation. As soon as possible The West Co. shall give notice to affected employees of the terms of this order by the same means required to be used to inform them of the application for variance.

Effective date. This order shall become effective on January 20. 1978, and shall remain in effect until modified or revoked in accordance with section 6(d) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970. Signed at Washington. D C., this 16th day of January 1978.

EULA BINGHAM
Assistant Secretary of Labor
[FR Due 78-1684 Filed 1-19-78; 8:45am]



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