SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine
The plastics industry represents a substantial portion
of the American workforce. Various safety
and health concerns exist throughout the plastics
industry, ranging from raw material manufacturing to
plastics processing. As we enter the new year, OSHA is
now concentrating more of their inspection efforts on
machinery. The reason for these increased inspections
is OSHA is now seeing an increase in employee amputations.
Injuries resulting from inadequate machine
guarding are of concern due to their potential severity.
For more information on this subject got to
www.osha.gov and search for Directive Number: CPL
03-00-019. I suggest that your safety & maintenance
supervisors become very familiar with this enforcement
Plastics processing machines are complex pieces of
equipment that require guards to protect employees
from nip points, numerous moving parts, and exposure
to high voltage and high temperature. Serious injuries
including fatalities, amputations, avulsions, burns, cuts,
and bruises can occur during operation. Such injuries
may result from guards that are missing, improperly
installed, removed, or bypassed.
Since OSHA does not have specific machine guarding
standards other than using 29 CFR 1910 212 standards,
they do refer to the following American National
Standards Institute consensus standards:
American National Standards Institute
(ANSI)/Society of the Plastics Industry, Inc. (SPI)
- B151.15, Extrusion blow molding machines - safety
requirements for the manufacture care and use.
Minimizes hazards to personnel associated with
machine activity by establishing requirements for the
manufacture, care, and use of these machines.
- B151.5, Plastic film and sheet winding machinery -
manufacture, care, and use. Identifies and addresses
known hazards to personnel working on or adjacent
to the machinery.
- B151.2, Film casting machines - construction, care,
and use (revision and redesignation of ANSI B151.2-
1982 (R1988)). Identifies and addresses known hazards
to personnel working on or adjacent to the
- B151.4, Blown film take-off and auxiliary equipment
- construction, care, and use (revision and redesignation
of ANSI B151.4-1982 (R1988)). Identifies and
addresses known hazards to personnel working on or
adjacent to the machinery.
- B151.20, American national standard for plastic
sheet production machinery - manufacture, care and
use. Identifies and addresses known hazards to personnel
working on or with the machinery.
- Z244.1, Control of hazardous energy -
lockout/tagout and alternative methods. Cited in
OSHA interpretations and private sector materials,
the Z244.1 Standard is used as a resource for
addressing control of hazardous energy and lockout/
The scope and purpose of the standard is to establish
requirements for the control of hazardous energy associated
with machines, equipment, or processes that
could cause injury to personnel. So, if you are looking to
improve your safety program and protecting both your
machine operators and maintenance personnel, you
should obtain these safety standards and follow them.
Podojil & Associates, Inc. offers many online training
programs at a cost-effective price. As always, if you
have any questions about machine safety or any other
OSHA safety, health or environmental programs, we
are ready to assist you.
- Occupational Safety & Health Association –
- National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health -
- Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety -
- National Safety Council - www.nsc.org
- American Society of Safety Engineers - www.asse.org
- Podojil & Associates (www.podojilconsulting.com)
also has free safety topics, training materials, monthly
toolbox talks, safety checklists and PowerPoint
programs that you can download free.
For more information, click on the author biography at the top of the page.