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Category: Safety Products & Services
Volume: 44
Issue: 6
Article No.: 5784

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SAFETY SOLUTIONS: Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations
Protecting Employees When Performing Machine Operations 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 and search for Directive Number: CPL 03-00-019. I suggest that your safety & maintenance supervisors become very familiar with this enforcement directive.

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 machinery.
  • 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/ tagout.

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.

Additional Resources

  • Occupational Safety & Health Association –
  • National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health -
  • Canadian Center for Occupational Health & Safety -
  • National Safety Council -
  • American Society of Safety Engineers -
  • Podojil & Associates ( 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.

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