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Dec. 1, 2004

Updated workplace rule takes mystery out of machine safety

TUMWATER — A revised and updated machine-safety rule takes effect Jan. 1, 2005, and the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) is offering workshops across the state to help employers learn about the rule.

"This revised machine-safety rule provides a huge leap forward in safety and health in Washington state," said Michael Silverstein, assistant director of the Washington Industrial Safety and Health Act (WISHA) Services Division. "The rule has been rewritten in 'plain talk' so that it is easily understood. We worked closely with industry representatives to ensure a clear and usable rule, and we went a step further and provided employers with machine-safeguard options."

Highlights of the revised machine-safety rule include:

  • Incorporation of all provisions in a single location for ease of use.
  • Basic machine safety for all employers.
  • Clearly written requirements for a number of specific machines, including compactors, conveyors, food-processing equipment, saws, cutting heads.
  • A section on press brakes that incorporates previous federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration language.
  • A table of contents, index, helpful tool sections and illustrations.
  • Current national consensus standards and state-of-the-art practices.

Machine-related incidents, such as being struck by or pulled into machinery, are a significant cause of injuries and deaths, costing Washington employers and workers an estimated $63 million in workers' compensation claims costs over the past five years.

The workshops are scheduled for Dec. 14-29 in Everett, Mount Vernon, Spokane, Vancouver, Tukwila and Tumwater. Additional workshops are scheduled for 2005. For more information or to register for a workshop, please see the L&I web site at www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety/TrainTools/Workshops or call 1-800-574-2829.

The new rule will be available online on Jan. 1, 2005, at www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety/Rules/Find or by contacting Sally Elliot at 360-902-5484 or yous235@LNI.wa.gov.

L&I's WISHA Services Division offers free consultations, workshops, videos and training resources (www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety/) to help employers meet safety and health requirements and promote safety in their workplaces.

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For media information: Elaine Fischer, L&I, 360-902-5413 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov or visit the L&I News and Media Center at www.LNI.wa.gov/News.

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