legal requirements for garage shop freelance pressman

I’m looking for any information on the legal requirements for hiring a pressman (on a freelance basis, for now) to operate a press in my garage.

I’m not sure what is required to ensure that this is done properly, if it is even possible.

If this is indeed legal, I may be looking for a pressman to operate a Chandler & Price 10x15 New Series Press in Denver, Colorado.

Thanks for any assistance with this.


Log in to reply   9 replies so far

Lots of research required and hoops to jump through and this isn’t the best place to look for answers.
Your local government is the place to ask about the legality of operating a business in your garage.
The local and state government is are the places to ask about employees and the requirements for employee taxes like Unemployment Compensation tax and state income witholding tax.
You need to consult with your insurance agent about insurance liability coverage both for the business use of your residence and for coverage for your employee.
The biggest problem that you probably cannot overcome and do as you wish to do legally is the safety risk with your press.
OSHA has become toothless, but before they did, they were aghast at hand fed platen presses and forbid their use in commercial shops. Thus today the general guidance is that the hand fed platens with unguarded wheels may be operated only by the owners. OSHA would have had you build a wire cage over the platen so it would be impossible to get your hand crushed. Impossible to get the paper in and out too.

*Not Positive*
But I have heard multiple things on this. One thing is that OSHA doesn’t approve any use of a C&P due to the injury hazard. I have also heard as long as you are an owner it is allowed, but no one else is to use the machine.

I look forward to the answers since there have been a few jobs advertised lately in the area to operate a platen press such as the one you are talking about.

Cheers, Matt

Before hiring, do you have a Business License? Are you registered with the Board of Equalization for your Sales Tax?
Do you have an EIN ? Before you hire anybody - make sure your business is legal and all is above board, you may not be allowed to have a press in your garage as you might not be zoned for it. If I would be you :) I would pay somebody cash to help and keep the door closed:) I have a commercial shop with all legal requirements, Insurance, Taxest etc. That’s a lot to print to make that nut.

See the following for OSHA’s rules. What I would suggest is sell the press to the pressman for a token $1.00 and let him have legal responsibility for any accidents!

I’d be wary of selling the press to the freelance worker for a token $1.00, even if it would legally absolve you. Does that mean that you yourself wouldn’t be allowed to work on it? What happens if you have a falling out and they refuse to sell it back, or require more than the token $1.00, holding it ransom.

Would it be possible to construct a partnership where you give part ownership of the operation to the laborer? If the partnership owns the press, then maybe either partner could operate it. There is still the possibility of being taken advantage of though, unless the partnership was contractually constructed such that they have a very small percentage ownership that doesn’t give them any actual control over the press or the business and with some method for you to regain full control without their consent (this could be the trickiest part, some sort of forced buyout?). That obviously still isn’t a typical “freelance” arrangement…but perhaps their wages would still be based on time worked and time worked on an as needed basis. This could even allow you to have multiple laborers if they each have 1%…just don’t have more than 50!!!

I agree with the rest of the comments though…be VERY sure that you are square with local, state, and federal requirements [licenses, zoning, taxes, insurance, etc]. But if OSHA isn’t going to allow it regardless, then it may not be worth it to jump through the hoops just to get shut down.

Have you considered replacing the press with a windmill or something similar with a feeder? If you are going to be paying someone for their labor, you are obviously willing to be shelling out some money. Perhaps additional efficiency in upgrading the press would negate your need for an additional laborer, which could provide the savings needed to pay for said press.

If I remember correctly OSHA standards only apply to employers with 11 or more employees.

Nervous-John - Workers comp insurance applies, Osha applies in the moment you place a non movable (that means you can’t just pick it up) on your shop floor, it doesn’t matter how many employees, owners or just whoever hangs around

In a nutshell: all manual Printing presses with Fly wheels, all manual cutters (Guillotines), all machinery casting type needs to be owner operated only, needs to be marked and safe guarded against other people using it. Osha is Federal, I’m in CA, just have an OSHA inspector come to your shop, they write nicely out what needs to be fixed :)

OSHA compliance is not machinery related. The basics are as follows:

“Who is Covered
In general, coverage of the OSH Act extends to all employers and their employees in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and all other territories under federal government jurisdiction. Coverage is provided either directly by the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) or through an OSHA-approved state occupational safety and health program, in states that have approved programs.

Definition of an “employer”
As defined by the OSH Act, an employer is any “person engaged in a business affecting commerce who has employees, but does not include the United States or any state or political subdivision of a State.” Therefore, the OSH Act applies to employers and employees in such varied fields as manufacturing, construction, longshoring, agriculture, law and medicine, charity and disaster relief, organized labor and private education. Such coverage includes religious groups to the extent that they employ workers for secular purposes.

The following are not covered by the OSH Act:
Self-employed persons;
Farms at which only immediate members of the farmer’s family are employed;
Working conditions regulated by other federal agencies under other federal statutes. This category includes most employment in mining, nuclear energy and nuclear weapons manufacture, and many segments of the transportation industries;
Employees of State and local governments (unless they are in one of the States with OSHA-approved safety and health programs).”

The 10-person ruling applies only for reporting of work related injuries or sickness in the workplace. The best bet to avoid jail house legal advice is to go straight to the OSHA web site. Many printers work under the wire and get away with it until an injury or sales tax audit or a neighbor’s complaint. We recently had an OSHA inspection here in our little podunk town because someone called in a complaint that workers on a manlift had no fall protection on, and the inspector from the Denver office drove 325 miles to get here, issued his citation ($7000), inspected another construction site and also nailed them, then drove back to Denver. OSHA will absolutely follow up on both employee complaints and those from other sources.