SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Using the Right Power Saw to Cut Plastic Materials
Many distributor and fabricator shops will purchase
machinery to cut plastic. The question is whether
or not this machine was really designed to cut this
type of material? It all depends on the machine manufacturer
and what they state in their owner's/operator's manuals.
For example, many companies use a table saw and
install a blade that was designed to cut plastic however
when you actually read the owner's/operator's manuals, it
will usually state that the machine was designed and built
to meet a certain American National Standards Institute
(ANSI) standard. If you look at your table saw and you see
ANSI O1.1 on its data plate or in its user manual, that
machine was designed to cut wood and not plastic or
metal. So let the buyer beware.
OSHA does not have a specific machine standard for
cutting plastic materials and they use the 29 CFR
1910.212 standards for machines that are not specifically
listed in their standards. So in case of an injury or worse
a potential lawsuit the manufacturer's manual comes into
play as to judge if the machine that was being used for its
designated purpose. Just because you purchased a blade
that was designed to cut plastic does not mean that you
can install it on any machine and be ok.
For plastic cutting machinery, ANSI updated their standards.
The Plastics Industry Trade Association and the
American National Standards Institute (ANSI) announced
the publication of a recently revised and approved
American National Standards on plastics machinery safety.
ANSI/SPI B151.20 - 2013 Safety Requirements for
Plastics Sheet Production Machinery, that addresses
detailed safety requirements for the specific machine or
group of machines.
The standard represent significant and substantive
changes from the previous editions and is considered
Type-C standards according to the ISO Type A-B-C standard
level structure. ISO Type A standards (basis standards)
provide basic concepts, principles for design, and
general aspects that can be applied to machinery. ISO
Type B (generic safety standards) address one or more
safety aspects or one or more types of safeguards that can
be used across a range of machinery.
B151.20 specifies the requirements for the manufacture,
care, and use of plastics sheet production machinery
to minimize hazards to personnel associated with machine
activity. The newly revised standard includes updates to
reflect changes in technology and provides additional
explanatory materials, illustrations, and definitions.
To assist in the interpretation of the requirement in the
standard, responsibilities have been assigned to the supplier,
the remanufacturer, the modifier, and the user.
With this said, you must be certain and when operating
your machinery, it meets the right standard. If it is a bandsaw
it could have been designed to cut wood and if it has
a speed chart on it then this machine was made to cut
metal and so on with each type of machine. If you have any
questions on machinery, please feel free to contact me at
the magazine. Remember that OSHA machine guarding
violations are always in the top 10 of their citation list.
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