Chinese government to start issuing scrap import licenses


The Ministry of Ecology and Environment (MEE) of the People’s Republic of China will issue the first round of import licenses for eight types of scrap materials, including aluminum and copper scrap, by the end of June, the agency says.

The import licenses will be issued earlier than expected. According to the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling’s (BIR) April policy update, the MEE was going to start accepting and approving import applicants beginning in July.

China will begin restricting scrap imports of copper, aluminum and steel scrap by quantity in July, according to an online report by Reuters. The nation began restricting the imports of lower scrap grades earlier this year and is working to tighten regulation around solid waste imports.

In recent months, the MEE has shifted focus from exporting firms to scrap importers in China. Importing companies in the nation will have to prove they have the site, facilities and equipment to process the imported scrap, as well as meet the agency’s environmental protection standards to receive import licenses from China’s MEE.

“The MEE has been carrying out inspections on scrap metals importers and processing companies,” said the agency’s spokesman, Liu Youbin, in the Reuters report.

Importing companies seeking licenses can apply electronically to the MEE through the National Solid Waste Management Information System, according to the agency.

OSHA to consider updates to lockout/tagout standard

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is requesting information on a possible update to the Control of Hazardous Energy standard, commonly referred to as lockout/tagout (LOTO). The agency is seeking feedback on the use of control circuit-type devices to isolate energy, as well as the evolving technology for robotics.

OSHA is requesting information about how employers have been using control circuit devices, including information about the types of circuitry and safety procedures being used; limitations of their use to determine under what other conditions control circuit-type devices could be used safely; new risks of worker exposure to hazardous energy as a result of increased interaction with robots; and whether the agency should consider changes to the LOTO standard that would address these new risks.

The current LOTO standard, published in 1989, requires that all sources of energy be controlled during servicing and maintenance of machines and equipment using an energy-isolating device. The standard specifies that control circuit devices cannot be used as energy-isolating devices, but the agency recognizes recent technological advances may have improved the safety of control circuit-type devices.

Comments must be submitted on or before Aug. 18. Comments and materials may be submitted electronically at, the Federal e-Rulemaking Portal, or by fax or mail. See the Federal Register notice for submission details.